- to prod or push, especially with something narrow or pointed, as a finger, elbow, stick, etc.: to poke someone in the ribs.
- to make (a hole, one's way, etc.) by or as by prodding or pushing.
- to thrust or push: She poked her head out of the window.
- to force, drive, or stir by or as by pushing or thrusting: He poked the fire up.
- to thrust obtrusively: The prosecutor kept poking his finger at the defendant.
- to make a pushing or thrusting movement with the finger, a stick, etc.
- to extend or project (often followed by out): His handkerchief is poking out of his back pocket.
- to thrust oneself obtrusively: to poke into something that is not one's affair.
- to search curiously; pry (often followed by around or about).
- to go or proceed in a slow or aimless way (often followed by along).
- a thrust or push.
- Informal. a slow or dawdling person; slowpoke.
- poke fun at, to ridicule or mock, especially covertly or slyly: In her novel, she pokes fun at her ex-husband.
- poke one's nose into, Informal. to meddle in; pry into: We felt as if half the people in town were poking their noses into our lives.
Origin of poke1
- (tr) to jab or prod, as with the elbow, the finger, a stick, etc
- (tr) to make (a hole, opening, etc) by or as by poking
- (when intr, often foll by at) to thrust (at)
- (tr) informal to hit with the fist; punch
- (usually foll by in, out, out of, through, etc) to protrude or cause to protrudedon't poke your arm out of the window
- (tr) to stir (a fire, pot, etc) by poking
- (intr) to meddle or intrude
- (intr; often foll by about or around) to search or pry
- (intr often foll by along) to loiter, potter, dawdle, etc
- (tr) slang (of a man) to have sexual intercourse with
- poke fun at to mock or ridicule
- poke one's nose into See nose (def. 17)
- a jab or prod
- short for slowpoke
- informal a blow with one's fist; punch
- slang sexual intercourse
- dialect a pocket or bag
- a pig in a poke See pig (def. 9)
- Also called: poke bonnet a woman's bonnet with a brim that projects at the front, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries
- the brim itself
- short for pokeweed
Word Origin and History for poke around
"to push, prod, thrust," especially with something pointed, c.1300, puken "to poke, nudge," of uncertain origin, perhaps from or related to Middle Dutch poken "to poke" (Dutch beuken), or Middle Low German poken "to stick with a knife" (cf. German pochen "to knock, rap"), both from Proto-Germanic root *puk-, perhaps imitative. Related: Poked; poking. To poke fun "tease" first attested 1840; to poke around "search" is from 1809. To poke along "advance lazily; walk at a leisurely pace" is from 1833.
"small sack," early 13c., probably from Old North French poque (12c., Old French poche) "purse, poke, purse-net," probably from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *puk- (cf. Old English pohha, pocca "bag, pocket," Middle Dutch poke, Old Norse poki "bag, pouch, pocket," dialectal German Pfoch), from PIE root *beu-, an imitative root associated with words for "to swell" (see bull (n.2)).
"pokeweed; a weed used in medicine and dyeing," colonial American, from native words, possibly a confusion of similar-sounding Native American plant names; from 1630s in English as "tobacco plant," short for uppowoc (1580s), from Algonquian (Virginia) *uppowoc. Later (1708) the word is used in the sense "pokeweed," as a shortened form of puccoon, from Algonquian (Virginia) *puccoon, name of a plant used for dyeing." Native roots for "smoke" and "stain" have been proposed as the origin or origins.
"an act of poking," 1796, originally pugilistic slang, from poke (v.). Also (1809) the name of a device, like a yoke with a pole, attached to domestic animals such as pigs and sheep to keep them from escaping enclosures. Hence slowpoke, and cf. pokey. Slang sense "act of sexual intercourse" is attested from 1902.