Definitions

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

  • adj. Chiefly British Shrewd and cunning, often in a humorous manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Shrewd, sly; often also as characterised by a sarcastic sense of humour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Arch; cunning; sly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Arch; humorously sly.
  • Crafty; shrewd; clever.

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

  • adj. cunning and sly

Etymologies

From English dialectal pawk, a trick.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From pawk + -y. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But there are records of Antony which represent him as a far more genial and human personage; full of a knowledge of human nature, and of a tenderness and sympathy, which account for his undoubted power over the minds of men; and showing, too, at times, a certain covert and "pawky" humour which puts us in mind, as does the humour of many of the Egyptian hermits, of the old-fashioned Scotch.

    The Hermits

  • In consequence the movie is visually remarkable as it tries to keep up with the frenetic activities of secret agent Ethan Hunt Tom Cruise accepting an impossible mission for the fourth time and his new trio of likable operatives: beautiful, resourceful Paula Patton, pawky computer wizard Simon Pegg and constantly fretting analyst Jeremy Renner.

    Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – review

  • But these voices add a wonderful, pawky, startling texture to the account.

    Voices of change

  • Edwin Gray, head of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, proved unexpectedly pawky in warning of the dangers, but Congress repeatedly refused his pleas for more funds to police the thrifts.

    S&Ls: Blaming The Media

  • My Commonwealth readers will no doubt chalk that opinion up to my pawky colonial ways.

    Kenneth Hite's Journal

  • Balfour, in whom the pawky Lowland lad, proud and precise, but

    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • Ye see, "says he, shaking his pawky old head," the day ye find a priest sittin 'in the court at Trinity is a day ye'll be able to skate over Dublin Bay from Bray to Balbriggan - an' as for seein 'St Stephen's Green from the court, well, I doubt if even ould Faylen could see that far from heaven, where he's been this five-and-thirty years, God rest his soul.

    Flashman and the angel of the lord

  • A good story is told of a pawky old Scot, who like many others, finds himself rather short of cash just now.

    Jokes For All Occasions Selected and Edited by One of America's Foremost Public Speakers

  • "But all that," said Sonachan, a pawky, sturdy little gentleman with

    John Splendid The Tale of a Poor Gentleman, and the Little Wars of Lorn

  • 'The Stickit Minister' and its companion stories; plenty of humour, too, of that dry, pawky kind which is a monopoly of 'Caledonia, stern and wild'; and, most plentiful of all, a quiet perception and reticent rendering of that underlying pathos of life which is to be discovered, not in Scotland alone, but everywhere that a man is found who can see with the heart and the imagination as well as the brain.

    Wild Nature Won By Kindness

Comments

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  • "Mr. McLintock nodded, with a pawky sort of grin."
    The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Volume 1 by Diana Wynne Jones, p 538

    March 11, 2014

  • Indeed she was something of a Langtry in these places, her extraordinary prettiness never failing to excite glances, stares, and all manner of looks, furtive and admiring, or gallant and lighthearted, from the rather pawky young men of the district.

    - Patrick Hamilton, The Siege of Pleasure

    March 5, 2009

  • adjective
    cunning and sly; "the pawky rich old lady who incessantly scores off her parasitical descendants"- Punch

    July 21, 2007