cudgel

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Related to cudgels: bludgeoning

cudgel (one's) brains

To try very hard to comprehend, solve, think of, or remember something. I was up all night cudgeling my brains for a way to pay off all my debts. She cudgeled her brains to remember the man's name.
See also: brain, cudgel

take up the cudgels (for/on behalf of someone or something)

To defend, show strong support for, or argue on behalf of someone or something. People from across the country are taking up cudgels on behalf of the young man being held by police. He's got plenty of money to hire a proper legal team. I don't think he needs the likes of us taking up the cudgels.
See also: behalf, cudgel, of, on, someone, take, up

take up (the) cudgels against (someone or something)

To prepare for or engage in a physical or verbal conflict against someone or something. People from across the country are taking up the cudgels against the dictatorship. We have to be willing to take up the cudgels if we ever want to loosen the grip of these greedy corporations.
See also: cudgel, take, up

take up arms (against someone or something)

to prepare to fight against someone or something. Everyone in the town took up arms against the enemy. They were all so angry that the leader convinced them to take up arms.
See also: arm, take, up

rack one's brain

Also, cudgel one's brains. Strain to remember or find a solution, as in I've been racking my brain trying to recall where we put the key, or He's been cudgeling his brains all day over this problem. The first term, first recorded in 1583 as rack one's wit, alludes to the rack that is an instrument of torture, on which the victim's body was stretched until the joints were broken. The variant, from the same period, uses cudgel in the sense of "beat with a cudgel" (a short thick stick). Shakespeare used it in Hamlet (5:1): "Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not bend his pace with beating." Also see beat one's brains out.
See also: brain, rack

take up arms

Also, take up the cudgels. Become involved in a conflict, either physical or verbal, as in The Kurds took up arms against the Iranians at least two centuries ago, or Some believe it's the vice-president's job to take up the cudgels for the president. The first term originated in the 1400s in the sense of going to war. The variant, alluding to cudgels as weapons, has been used figuratively since the mid-1600s and is probably obsolescent.
See also: arm, take, up

take up the cudgels

or

take up the cudgel

If you take up the cudgels for someone or take up the cudgel for them, you speak or fight in support of them. The trade unions took up the cudgels for the 367 staff who were made redundant. We are hoping that the government will take up the cudgel on our behalf. Note: A cudgel was a short, thick stick that was used as a weapon in the past.
See also: cudgel, take, up

cudgel your brain (or brains)

think hard about a problem.
This expression was used by Shakespeare in Hamlet: ‘Cudgel thy brains no more about it’.
See also: brain, cudgel

take up the cudgels

start to support someone or something strongly.
See also: cudgel, take, up

take up the ˈcudgels for somebody/something

,

take up the cudgels on behalf of somebody/something

(old-fashioned, written) start to defend or support somebody/something: The local newspapers have taken up the cudgels on behalf of the woman who was unfairly dismissed from her job because she was pregnant.
A cudgel is a short thick stick that is used as a weapon.

take up the cudgels

To join in a dispute, especially in defense of a participant.
See also: cudgel, take, up
References in periodicals archive ?
These men numbering about 20, started attacking us and rounded me after injuring others and one of them stabbed me directly at the back of my head after shooting and as if this was not enough, one of them used a cudgel to hit my head at the same time and I passed out.
Ostensibly taking up cudgels for Mumbaikars (people of Mumbai) inconvenienced by the agitation, activists of both the Raj Thackeray-led MNS and Bal Thackeray-led Sena targeted the auto drivers and damaged several of their vehicles on Tuesday night and yesterday.
WELL done David Miliband for taking up the cudgels on behalf of constituent Amanda Olley.
Besides, military vehicles and reinforcements were deployed on the main streets and around the city's important establishments to disperse the groups of citizens, who were armed with cudgels, sabres and knives and threw stones, TAP news agency correspondent reported.
Surely this is a matter for various councils, county and community to take up with the hospital authority, to me it is their duty to take up the cudgels as soon as possible.
The projection of the late Sanjay in the book triggered a controversy with the BJP taking up cudgels on behalf of him saying : " Sanjay Gandhi alone could not be held responsible for the excesses committed during the Emergency.
In 1949 Chaplin took up the cudgels, to align with 381 other writers, actors and professional people, that there was a plan to censor Hollywood.
protections for married women; Zahra Rahnavard, wife of losing presidential candidate Mir-Hossain Musavi, has now taken up the cudgels to fight the bill.
A "Joint Study Group" will be taking up the cudgels in this regard.
For this reason, I have never intervened in planning matters of this kind, which are the responsibility of the district council, since that would, in effect, mean taking up the cudgels on behalf of one group of my constituents against another.
Fred took up the cudgels again and told him not to be a pillock all of his life.
Featuring chapters on the use of the quarter staff, bayonets, cudgels, shillalahs, walking-sticks, umbrellas, and other miscellaneous but common objects, "Broadsword And Singlestick" also contains useful insights into armed combat training and how such training relates to real-world self-defense considerations and issues which still has relevance and value for men and women today.
The ECB will say it's another media witch-hunt, but who else will take up the cudgels on behalf of England cricket fans who recall the heady days of last summer's fight for the Ashes?
Jesus Himself expressed astonishment, for this very reason, at the manner of Judas's betrayal: "Do you take me for a bandit that you have come out with swords and cudgels to arrest me?
Nobody in their right mind, you would think, could take up cudgels against scientific breaththroughs that prevented such agony.