From Middle English kuggel, from Old English cyċġel (“a large stick, cudgel”), from Proto-Germanic *kuggilaz (“knobbed instrument”), derivative of Proto-Germanic *kuggǭ (“cog, swelling”), from Proto-Indo-European *gewgʰ- (“swelling, bow”), from Proto-Indo-European *gew-, *gū- (“to bow, bend, arch, curve”), equivalent to cog + -el (diminutive suffix). Cognate with Middle Dutch coghele (“stick with a rounded end”).
cudgel (plural cudgels)
- A short heavy club with a rounded head used as a weapon.
- The guard hefted his cudgel menacingly and looked at the inmates. The threat to swing glinted in his eye.
- (metaphoric) Anything that can be used as a threat to force one's will on another.
2015 April 15, Jonathan Martin, “For a Clinton, It’s Not Hard to Be Humble in an Effort to Regain Power”, in The New York Times:
- Mrs. Clinton’s Senate tenure, however, also demonstrated the risks of overcompensation: Not wanting to give Republicans fodder to portray her as soft on defense, she authorized President Bush to use force in Iraq and handed Mr. Obama a political cudgel to use against her.
- To strike with a cudgel.
- The officer was violently cudgeled down in the midst of the rioters.
- I would cudgel him like a dog if he would say so.
- Jack Vance , Dying earth
- Aboard the barge and so off the trail, the blessing lost its puissance and the barge-tender, who coveted Guyal's rich accoutrements, sought to cudgel him with a knoblolly
- To exercise (one's wits or brains).