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[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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for poky
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It is so silly of you trying to make yourself miserable, and living in poky lodgings.

    Uncle Max Rosa Nouchette Carey
  • “I can't help it, mamma; Battles is slow and poky,” he fumed.

  • She wore a print short-gown and petticoat, and a poky sun-bonnet; and her bare arms were reeking with soap-suds.

    Hetty Gray Rosa Mulholland
  • One hundred and thirty pounds a year for this poky little hole?

    A Simpleton Charles Reade
  • She could not stand the poky little lodgings, and she missed her servant Abdullah more than words could tell.

    Soldiers Three, Part II. Rudyard Kipling
  • I wouldn't have you go prowling about this poky old place for anything.

    Thankful's Inheritance Joseph C. Lincoln
  • How small and poky and drab the home drawing-room would appear in comparison!

    A College Girl Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
  • But I'm due in a poky little place in Massachusetts called Enderby.

    Elsie Marley, Honey Joslyn Gray
  • I wasn't very sick, and that made it all the worse being down in a poky state-room when I wanted to walk.

    The Kentons William Dean Howells
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
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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
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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.
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