Definition of bodkin in English:



  • 1A blunt, thick needle with a large eye used especially 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.’
    • ‘Thus the body of the witch might be subjected to penetration by bodkins or needles as the insensible spot was sought.’
    • ‘Isaac Newton risked his vision by poking a bodkin beneath his eyeball to understand how we see.’
    1. 1.1 A small pointed instrument used to pierce cloth or leather.
      • ‘She stopped to examine an exquisite white embroidery bag, containing pencils for drawing, scissors, compass and bodkin in gold and mother-of-pearl.’
    2. 1.2historical A long pin used for fastening hair.
    3. 1.3Printing historical A pointed tool used for removing pieces of metal type for correction.


Middle English: perhaps of Celtic origin and related to Irish bod, Welsh bidog, Scottish Gaelic biodag ‘dagger’.