Definition of bodkin in English:



  • 1A thick, blunt needle with a large eye, used for drawing tape or cord through a hem.

    • ‘Isaac Newton risked his vision by poking a bodkin beneath his eyeball to understand how we see.’
    • ‘There is a nail knot/tying tool, clipper/nipper, a bodkin - which as we all know is a needle.’
    • ‘Thus the body of the witch might be subjected to penetration by bodkins or needles as the insensible spot was sought.’
    1. 1.1historical A long pin used for fastening up the hair.
  • 2Printing
    A pointed tool used for removing pieces of metal type for correction.

  • 3archaic A dagger.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’.