The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Cudgel \Cudg"el\ (k?j"?l), n. [OE. kuggel; cf. G. keule club
(with a round end), kugel ball, or perh. W. cogyl cudgel, or
D. cudse, kuds, cudgel.]
A staff used in cudgel play, shorter than the quarterstaff,
and wielded with one hand; hence, any heavy stick used as a
He getteth him a grievous crabtree cudgel and . . .
falls to rating of them as if they were dogs. --Bunyan.
Cudgel play, a fight or sportive contest with cudgels.
To cross the cudgels, to forbear or give up the contest; --
a phrase borrowed from the practice of cudgel players, who
lay one cudgel over another when the contest is ended.
To take up cudgels for, to engage in a contest in behalf of
(some one or something).