noun Informal.

a person who does anything in a contemptibly small or cheap way.
a stingy, tight-fisted person; tightwad.
a person who gambles, speculates, etc., in a small, cautious way.

Origin of piker

1275–1325; Middle English: petty thief, equivalent to pik(en) to pick1 + -er1; compare dial. (N England, Scots, Hiberno-English) pike to pick1

Synonyms for piker

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for piker

Historical Examples of piker

  • Siebold, who really was no piker, was slipping on his gloves and having them laced up.

    Radio Boys Loyalty

    Wayne Whipple

  • No wonder you don't want to stop for any of this piker stuff.

    It Pays to Smile

    Nina Wilcox Putnam

  • "That was a piker's trick—listening in on me, Dick," he remonstrated half-impatiently.

    Pirates' Hope

    Francis Lynde

  • "I called for a sport and drew a piker," Jim Searles retorted.

    Cappy Ricks Retires

    Peter B. Kyne

  • He thinks he's been a piker and that you and I are his first-assistant pikers.

    Cappy Ricks Retires

    Peter B. Kyne

British Dictionary definitions for piker


noun slang

Australian a wild bullock
Australian and NZ a useless person; failure
US, Australian and NZ a lazy person; shirker
a mean person

Word Origin for piker

C19: perhaps related to pike ³
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

Word Origin and History for piker

"miserly person," 1872, formerly "poor migrant to California" (1860), earlier pike (1854), perhaps originally "vagrant who wanders the pike (n.1)" (which is the notion in Sussex dialectal piker "vagrant, tramp, gypsy," 1838), but Barnhart, OED and others suggest the American English word ultimately is a reference to people from Pike County, Missouri.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper