bod·​kin | \ ˈbäd-kən How to pronounce bodkin (audio) \

Definition of bodkin

b : a sharp slender instrument for making holes in cloth
c : an ornamental hairpin shaped like a stiletto
2 : a blunt needle with a large eye for drawing tape or ribbon through a loop or hem

Examples of bodkin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Punishment for cursing or disparaging a clergyman was having a bodkin — a large needle — driven through the tongue. Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bodkin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bodkin

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for bodkin

Middle English bodekin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About bodkin

Time Traveler for bodkin

Time Traveler

The first known use of bodkin was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near bodkin




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for bodkin

Cite this Entry

“Bodkin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on bodkin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bodkin


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!