take up the cudgels

take up the cudgels

Meaning | Synonyms

  • argue strongly in support or against somebody or something
  • to support someone very strongly
  • to defend someone against an accusation

Example Sentences

  1. The whole country has taken up the cudgels for the two men accused of breaking into the school.
  2. My boss has taken up the cudgels for us regarding the head office’s decision to stop giving bonuses.
  3. Marie and her friends are willing to take up the cudgels for women’s rights.
  4. Our party has had enough of the corruption in our country. We are going to take up the cudgels against our government.
  5. Environmental groups have taken up the cudgels against multinational companies in China.


It is not known when or where the phrase originated. The word cudgel refers to a short, thick stick that is often used as a weapon. It appears as if the word has been in use since the 1500s. The word comes from the Old English word cycgel, which refers to a club with a rounded head.

It is easy to surmise that the phrase was originally meant in a literal manner. You are willing to pick up the weapon to fight in defence of somebody or something. These days the stick is proverbial. It still means that you are willing to fight, but not in a physical manner.


T 1 Thought

1 Thought

Where did the phrase: ” Take up the cudgels ” originated from? Was there an event that inspired someone to come up with this phrase?

- Graciano D. Roquero Jr. September 16, 2018

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