One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Used as an oath to express asseveration, surprise, etc. Chiefly in "od's heartikins".
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Tobias Smollett (1721–1771), writer. Either a variant of heartlikins, or independently from heart + -kins, with insertion of -i- after bodikin, variant of bodikin.
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