antiquated A minced oath for "God's body," expressing surprise, shock, or astonishment. Odds bodkins, the bill for dinner is nearly $200!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
An archaic interjection meaning “God's body.” In an era where people respected the Ten Commandments a lot more than we do today, the injuncTion against taking the name of the Lord in vain led to a variety of euphemisms. One involved using the word “bodkins,” the tools that shoemakers and other leatherworkers use to pierce holes, for “body.” The most convincing explanation is that “bodkins” sounds a lot like “body,” but there's no explanation for the plural. Therefore, when a cobbler hit his thumb while resoling a shoe, he was likely to wince and exclaim, “Odd's bodkins,” if not something worse. Henry Fielding was the first author to use the phrase in close to its present form in his Don Quixote in England: “Odsbodlikins . . . you have a strange sort of a taste.” Similar oaths that avoided naming the diety used “'s” as an abbreviation of “God's,” such as “s'wounds,” “s'blood,” and “s'truth.” However, it's unlikely that Ira Gershwin had that in mind when he wrote the lyrics to “S'Wonderful.”
See also: bodkin
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price