Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[poh-kee] /ˈpoʊ ki/
adjective, pokier, pokiest. Informal.
puttering; slow; dull:
poky drivers.
(of a place) small and cramped:
a poky little room.
(of dress) dowdy.
noun, plural pokies.
Slang. a jail:
They put him in the poky for carrying a concealed weapon.
Origin of poky
First recorded in 1840-50; poke1 + -y1
Related forms
pokily, adverb
pokiness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for poky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I wouldn't have you go prowling about this poky old place for anything.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
  • But I'm due in a poky little place in Massachusetts called Enderby.

    Elsie Marley, Honey

    Joslyn Gray
  • The children are behaving as well as can be, and Sykes too; and it's not a poky house, by any means.

    Sarah's School Friend

    May Baldwin
  • We never have parties in Tideshead, except at the vestry in the winter; and they're so poky.

    Betty Leicester Sarah Orne Jewett
  • But you just swallow it all, and then you get to be so poky a body has no comfort in life.

    The Faith Doctor Edward Eggleston
  • So it did not seem at all a poky or stuffy house though it was so small.

    My New Home Mary Louisa Molesworth
  • “I can't help it, mamma; Battles is slow and poky,” he fumed.

  • One hundred and thirty pounds a year for this poky little hole?

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • The miserable weeks went on, in the poky house crammed with children.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
British Dictionary definitions for poky


adjective pokier, pokiest
(informal) (esp of rooms) small and cramped
without speed or energy; slow
(mainly US & Canadian, slang) the poky, prison
Derived Forms
pokily, adverb
pokiness, noun
Word Origin
C19: from poke1 (in slang sense: to confine)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for poky

also pokey, 1828, "confined, pinched, shabby," later (1856) "slow, dull;" from varied senses of poke (v.) + -y (2). Also cf. poke (n.3). Related: Pokily; pokiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for poky

pokey 1


A jail; clink, slammer: My thoughts centered around the prospect of the ''Pokey''

[1919+; origin unknown]

pokey 2


  1. Slow; dawdling; sluggish: What a pokey waiter (1856+)
  2. Insignificant; paltry: a pokey little town (1849+)

Related Terms


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for poky

Word Value for poky

Scrabble Words With Friends