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Greyeyes UK: Please explain 'bodger' (42) RE: UK: Please explain 'bodger' 08 Nov 01


The Flanders meaning is mentioned in the World Wide Words site that Mark Clark provides a link to above. It's some kind of pointed instrument, possibly similar to a dibber.

According to the same source the use of the word applied to wood turners only dates from the end of the C19, while the more common meaning of incompetent mender of things may well be derived from the middle English word "bocchen" which is linked with repairing or patching.

This is confirmed by the OED, whose earliest reference to wood turners is in fact early C20. Bodger has references going back to mid C16. Interestingly it is the word botch or botcher which is the original, references to this variation go back to Early C14. Bodge is almost certainly a dialect development of botch.

The original meaning was simply mender or patcher of clothes. The inference of a job badly done is a relatively recent development.

There is no reference in the OED to the Michael Flanders pointy instrument definition.


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