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 conflict against someone or something. May or may not refer to literally arming oneself. 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

cudgel one's brains, to

To think hard; to make a vigorous attempt to solve or answer some question, or to remember something. The verb “to cudgel” means to beat with a cudgel (a short thick stick). Possibly the allusion here is to thrashing a schoolboy for failing to answer promptly or correctly. The word “cudgel” is hardly ever heard anymore except in this context, which dates from before 1600. Shakespeare had a clown say to another who was puzzling over a riddle, “Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating” (Hamlet, 5.1). See also beat one's brains; rack one's brain.
See also: cudgel
References in periodicals archive ?
That followed the 1995 killing of a fisherman who was beaten to death with cudgels by the Korubo.
HYDERABAD -- Ali Kazi, head of Tabdeeli Pasand Party (TPP) launched here on Sunday at a public gathering, said that change could only be brought about by the power of vote and not by carrying cudgels or axes.
He contended that QWP had taken up the cudgels of the masses when the people of Mohmand Agency had rendered matchless sacrifices both human and material in the war against terrorism.
'I told him that I am your daughter, trained by you, will neither cower down, nor yield to pressure and nothing will deter me from taking up the cudgels against transgression and injustice,' Maryam Nawaz added in her tweet.
MONTERREY, Mexico, Jumada I 03, 1437, February 12, 2016, SPA -- Mexico's deadliest prison brawl in many years was a bloodbath in which inmates attacked each other with hammers, cudgels and makeshift blades, authorities said Friday, underlining yet again the power that drug cartels wield inside many of the country's lockups, according to AP.
Raised wing Peace Dove gently sighing, Find not-so-human nature short, Plenty cudgels for the buying, And oh so far too many bought.
But Sir Vincent Fean said a decision was taken by Tony Blair's government "not to take up the cudgels on behalf of the victims directly".
Labour councillors on Redcar and Cleveland Council have taken up the cudgels on these local service losses and, hopefully, in partnership with a new Labour government, we can bring back a bus service that truly serves our borough.
Yes, many of us will be happy to lay down the cudgels in our mid to late 60s in favour of a life of leisure.
They mostly use axes and cudgels. Two crew members are seen carrying a box full of cudgels in the leaked images that may be meant for the Militants in "Game of Thrones" Season 5.
As we report today, the aptly-named Boudicca Stretton-Brown has taken up cudgels on behalf of struggling families - by offering to make them a home-cooked meal every Monday.
Coun Bailey said: "I was glad to take up the cudgels again on my re-election a few months ago.
Barry has taken up cudgels against Tesco's ring road supermarket plans, yet he appeared last week with the company's representative to present school prizes sponsored by Tesco.
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.