One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A thick, blunt needle with a large eye, used for drawing tape or cord through a hem.
- ‘There is a nail knot/tying tool, clipper/nipper, a bodkin - which as we all know is a needle.’
- ‘Isaac Newton risked his vision by poking a bodkin beneath his eyeball to understand how we see.’
- ‘Thus the body of the witch might be subjected to penetration by bodkins or needles as the insensible spot was sought.’
- 1.1historical A long pin used for fastening up the hair.
A pointed tool used for removing pieces of metal type for correction.
3archaic A dagger.
- ‘The heavy draw weight of these warbows requires a significantly heavier shafted arrow, usually with some form of bodkin head, which had enough weight to strike its target with frightening power.’
- ‘This situation, Durkheim reasons, maximizes the probability that the temptation for the individual to end it all with a bare bodkin will not be resisted.’
- ‘Thankfully, the other film's plentiful bare bodkins come to rescue us from anticipation frustration.’
Middle English: perhaps of Celtic origin and related to Irish bod, Welsh bidog, Scottish Gaelic biodag ‘dagger’.
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