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See also: Bodkin


English Wikipedia has an article on:
A bodkin arrowhead

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English boydekin (dagger), apparently from *boyde, *boide (of unknown [Celtic?] origin) + -kin (Etymology 2). Cognate with Scots botkin, boitkin, boikin (bodkin).


bodkin (plural bodkins)

  1. A small sharp pointed tool for making holes in cloth or leather.
  2. A blunt needle used for threading ribbon or cord through a hem or casing.
  3. A hairpin.
  4. A dagger.
    • 1603, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 3, scene 1:
      For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
      The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
      The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
      The insolence of office and the spurns
      That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
      When he himself might his quietus make
      With a bare bodkin?
    • 1932 (posthumous), D.H. Lawrence, "The Ship of Death"
      And can a man his own quietus make
      with a bare bodkin?
      With daggers, bodkins, bullets, man can make
      a bruise or break of exit for his life;
      but is that a quietus, O tell me, is it quietus?
  5. A type of long thin arrowhead.
  6. (printing) A sharp tool, like an awl, formerly used for pressing down individual type characters letters from a column or page in making corrections.



bodkin (not comparable)

  1. Closely wedged between two people.
    to sit bodkin; to ride bodkin
    • 1853, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair: A Novel Without a Hero, Bradbury and Evans, 1853. page 343.
      He's too big to travel bodkin between you and me.