from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small, sharply pointed instrument for making holes in fabric or leather.
  • n. A blunt needle for pulling tape or ribbon through a series of loops or a hem.
  • n. A long hairpin, usually with an ornamental head.
  • n. Printing An awl or pick for extracting letters from set type.
  • n. A dagger or stiletto.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small sharp pointed tool for making holes in cloth or leather.
  • n. A blunt needle used for threading ribbon or cord through a hem or casing.
  • n. A hairpin.
  • n. A dagger.
  • n. A type of arrowhead.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A dagger.
  • n. An implement of steel, bone, ivory, etc., with a sharp point, for making holes by piercing; a stiletto; an eyeleteer.
  • n. A sharp tool, like an awl, used for picking out letters from a column or page in making corrections.
  • n. A kind of needle with a large eye and a blunt point, for drawing tape, ribbon, etc., through a loop or a hem; a tape needle.
  • n. A kind of pin used by women to fasten the hair.
  • n. See baudekin.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small dagger; a stiletto.
  • n. A small pointed instrument of steel, bone, or ivory, used for piercing holes in cloth, etc.
  • n. A similar but blunt instrument, with an eye, for drawing thread, tape, or ribbon through a loop, hem, etc.
  • n. A long pin-shaped instrument used by women to fasten up the hair.
  • n. A thick needle or straight awl of steel, used by bookbinders to make holes in boards and to trace lines for cutting.
  • n. A printers' tool for picking letters out of a column or page in correcting.
  • n. A corruption of baudekin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. formerly a long hairpin; usually with an ornamental head
  • n. a blunt needle for threading ribbon through loops
  • n. a dagger with a slender blade
  • n. a small sharp-pointed tool for punching holes in leather or fabric


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English boidekin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English boydekin ("dagger"), apparently from *boyde, *boide (of unknown origin) +‎ -kin. Cognate with Scots botkin, boitkin, boikin ("bodkin").


  • The surname Botkin comes from the Old English word bodkin, which is also spelled bodekin, and refers to a short, pointed weapon or dagger.

    Whence Botkinburg?

  • Oh, and can we all consider using the word bodkin more in 2010?

    Gifts for People Who Love to Sew - A Dress A Day

  • Meanwhile, the time is long past when the measure adopted by the Congress last week could be described as a bodkin in a fountain or a finger in a dike.

    Economic Principals

  • (A bodkin is a tapered arrowhead, a dagger shaped like one, or even a large needle.)

    Economic Principals

  • Page 330 has fallen heir, and must be met by all; but few, if any, are capable of holding themselves prepared to see them snatched away suddenly when in the full vigor of health, and yet that is one of the conditions under which we ourselves hold to the precarious tenure of life most mysteriously, as a mere 'bodkin' would be sufficient to make us 'shuffle off this mortal coil' in a moment.

    Memorials of a southern planter,

  • On the other hand, my wife, instead of using her hand as everybody does, pulled a little case out of her pocket, and took out of it a kind of bodkin, with which she picked up the rice, and put it into her mouth, grain by grain.

    The Arabian Nights Entertainments - Complete

  • A polished bodkin of white petrified shell, with sharp-pointed ends, thrust through a hole in the partition of his nostrils, extended five inches across his face.


  • Long-Beard laughed, too, the five-inch bodkin of bone, thrust midway through the cartilage of his nose, leaping and dancing and adding to his ferocious appearance.


  • As an old Scadian, It is bodkin points I'd reccomend.

    On Bowhunting For Burglars

  • To be or not to be…, he muttered, pondering the depths of his situation. ...that is the bare bodkin.

    Eddie's Story


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  • One obsolete definition of 'bodkin' was "a person wedged in between two others when there was room for two or two and a half at the most". Remember that on your next airplane flight.

    November 5, 2015

  • "For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

    Th’ oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,

    The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,

    The insolence of office, and the spurns

    That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,

    When he himself might his quietus make

    With a bare bodkin?"

    --William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1.

    September 24, 2010