Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To push or jab at, as with a finger or an arm; prod.
  • intransitive verb To make (a hole or pathway, for example) by or as if by prodding, elbowing, or jabbing.
  • intransitive verb To push; thrust.
  • intransitive verb To stir (a fire) by prodding the wood or coal with a poker or stick.
  • intransitive verb Slang To strike; punch.
  • intransitive verb To make thrusts or jabs, as with a stick or poker.
  • intransitive verb To pry or meddle; intrude.
  • intransitive verb To search or look curiously in a desultory manner.
  • intransitive verb To proceed in a slow or lazy manner; putter.
  • intransitive verb To thrust forward; appear.
  • noun A push, thrust, or jab.
  • noun Slang A punch or blow with the fist.
  • noun One who moves slowly or aimlessly; a dawdler.
  • idiom (poke fun at) To ridicule in a mischievous manner.
  • noun Pokeweed.
  • noun A sack; a bag.
  • noun A projecting brim at the front of a bonnet.
  • noun A large bonnet having a projecting brim.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A gentle thrust or push, especially with something long or pointed; a prod; a dig.
  • noun A poke-bonnet.
  • noun A sort of collar or ox-bow from the lower part of which a short pole projects, placed about the neck of a cow or steer in order to prevent it from jumping fences.
  • noun A lazy person; a dawdler.
  • To thrust or push against; prod, especially with something long or pointed; prod and stir up: as, to poke a person in the ribs.
  • To push gently; jog.
  • To thrust or push.
  • To force as if by thrusting; urge; incite.
  • To put a poke on: as, to poke an ox or a pig. See poke, n., 3. [U. S.] To set the plaits of (a ruff).
  • To stoop or bend forward in walking.
  • To grope; search; feel or push one's way in or as in the dark; also, to move to and fro; dawdle.
  • noun Same as pokeweed or garget.
  • noun A pocket; a pouch; a bag; a sack.
  • noun A large, wide, bag-like sleeve formerly in vogue. Same as poke-sleeve.
  • noun A bag or bladder filled with air and used by fishermen as a buoy.
  • noun The stomach or swimming-bladder of a fish.
  • noun A cock, as of hay.
  • noun A customary unit of weight for wool, 20 hundredweight.
  • noun Scrofula.
  • noun The small green heron more fully called shitepoke.
  • In cricket, to bat in a cramped, over-cautious style.
  • noun In cricket: A cramped, timid batting stroke.
  • noun A batsman who plays in a cramped, over-cautious style.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A large North American herb of the genus Phytolacca (Phytolacca decandra), bearing dark purple juicy berries; -- called also garget, pigeon berry, pocan, and pokeweed. The root and berries have emetic and purgative properties, and are used in medicine. The young shoots are sometimes eaten as a substitute for asparagus, and the berries are said to be used in Europe to color wine.
  • noun A bag; a sack; a pocket.
  • noun A long, wide sleeve; -- called also poke sleeve.
  • noun (that is, in a bag), to buy a thing without knowledge or examination of it.
  • intransitive verb To search; to feel one's way, as in the dark; to grope.
  • noun The act of poking; a thrust; a jog.
  • noun Slang, U.S. A lazy person; a dawdler; also, a stupid or uninteresting person.
  • noun U.S. A contrivance to prevent an animal from leaping or breaking through fences. It consists of a yoke with a pole inserted, pointed forward.
  • noun a bonnet with a straight, projecting front.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English poken, probably from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch.]

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

[Short for dialectal pocan, of Virginia Algonquian origin; akin to puccoon.]

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

[Middle English, probably from Old North French; see pocket.]

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

[From poke.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman poke, whence pocket

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From pokeweed, by shortening

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps from Middle Dutch poken OR German poken (both from Proto-Germanic *puk), perhaps imitative.

Examples

Comments

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  • A WeirdNET special :-)

    December 4, 2007

  • "He bought a poke of chips in a shop near Charing Cross and walked, eating them, up Bath Street." - 'Lanark', Alasdair Gray.

    The meaning here appears to be bag.

    December 4, 2007

  • Actually, WeirdNET is correct on this one, at least if you're from the Southern US where poke (a.k.a. poke salad) is gathered and consumed as a green.

    In Alaska, a small sack of gold is referred to as a poke, clearly having taken the name from the bag itself.

    December 13, 2007

  • Aaaah! So when you poke someone on Facebook, you're actually giving them some of your tall coarse perennial American herb having small white flowers followed by blackish-red berries on long drooping racemes! Now I get it!

    December 13, 2007

  • Context is everything, eh reesetee?

    December 14, 2007

  • If only I'd known.

    December 14, 2007

  • No wonder I'm never hungry.

    December 14, 2007

  • It's an...acquired taste, U. Mostly acquired through poverty.

    December 14, 2007

  • And through Facebook. I never said I liked it! ;-)

    December 14, 2007

  • Poke is also a Hawaiian side dish.

    July 31, 2009