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See more synonyms for bodkin on Thesaurus.com
  1. a small, pointed instrument for making holes in cloth, leather, etc.
  2. a long pinshaped instrument used by women to fasten up the hair.
  3. a blunt, needlelike instrument for drawing tape, cord, etc., through a loop, hem, or the like.
  4. Obsolete. a small dagger; stiletto.
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Origin of bodkin

1350–1400; Middle English badeken, bo(i)dekyn, of uncertain origin
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for bodkin

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for bodkin


  1. a blunt large-eyed needle used esp for drawing tape through openwork
  2. archaic a dagger
  3. printing a pointed steel tool used for extracting characters when correcting metal type
  4. archaic a long ornamental hairpin
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Word Origin

C14: probably of Celtic origin; compare Gaelic biodag dagger
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bodkin


late 14c., boydekin, of unknown origin. The ending suggests a diminutive formation, and Celtic has been suggested as the source of the root.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper