Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Cudgel One’s Brains (To).

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Cudgel One’s Brains (To).
To make a painful effort to remember or understand something. The idea is from taking a stick to beat a dull boy under the notion that dulness is the result of temper or inattention.   1
        “Cudgel thy brains no more about it; for your dull ass will not mend his pace with heating.”—Shakespeare: Hamlet, v. 1.



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