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poke1

[pohk]
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verb (used with object), poked, pok·ing.
  1. to prod or push, especially with something narrow or pointed, as a finger, elbow, stick, etc.: to poke someone in the ribs.
  2. to make (a hole, one's way, etc.) by or as by prodding or pushing.
  3. to thrust or push: She poked her head out of the window.
  4. to force, drive, or stir by or as by pushing or thrusting: He poked the fire up.
  5. to thrust obtrusively: The prosecutor kept poking his finger at the defendant.
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verb (used without object), poked, pok·ing.
  1. to make a pushing or thrusting movement with the finger, a stick, etc.
  2. to extend or project (often followed by out): His handkerchief is poking out of his back pocket.
  3. to thrust oneself obtrusively: to poke into something that is not one's affair.
  4. to search curiously; pry (often followed by around or about).
  5. to go or proceed in a slow or aimless way (often followed by along).
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noun
  1. a thrust or push.
  2. Informal. a slow or dawdling person; slowpoke.
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Idioms
  1. poke fun at, to ridicule or mock, especially covertly or slyly: In her novel, she pokes fun at her ex-husband.
  2. 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.
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Origin of poke1

1300–50; Middle English < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German poken to thrust. See poach1
Related formspok·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

nudgeshovedigpunchstabstickprotrudeprodjabpeekprydragshoulderprojectawakenrousehitcrowdbulgearouse

Examples from the Web for poking

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Sidney considered, poking a slim finger into the little holes in the box.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • "The dead are restless tonight," said Simba, poking the fire.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • What if Neill Sheridan, poking about alone with a candle, could see through that veil?

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Great humble-bees haunted the walls, and were poking about in them constantly.

  • Alexander moved about restlessly and fell to poking the fire.

    Alexander's Bridge and The Barrel Organ

    Willa Cather and Alfred Noyes


British Dictionary definitions for poking

poke1

verb
  1. (tr) to jab or prod, as with the elbow, the finger, a stick, etc
  2. (tr) to make (a hole, opening, etc) by or as by poking
  3. (when intr, often foll by at) to thrust (at)
  4. (tr) informal to hit with the fist; punch
  5. (usually foll by in, out, out of, through, etc) to protrude or cause to protrudedon't poke your arm out of the window
  6. (tr) to stir (a fire, pot, etc) by poking
  7. (intr) to meddle or intrude
  8. (intr; often foll by about or around) to search or pry
  9. (intr often foll by along) to loiter, potter, dawdle, etc
  10. (tr) slang (of a man) to have sexual intercourse with
  11. poke fun at to mock or ridicule
  12. poke one's nose into See nose (def. 17)
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noun
  1. a jab or prod
  2. short for slowpoke
  3. informal a blow with one's fist; punch
  4. slang sexual intercourse
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Word Origin

C14: from Low German and Middle Dutch poken to thrust, prod, strike

poke2

noun
  1. dialect a pocket or bag
  2. a pig in a poke See pig (def. 9)
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Word Origin

C13: from Old Northern French poque, of Germanic origin; related to Old English pocca bag, Old Norse poki pouch, Middle Dutch poke bag; compare poach ²

poke3

noun
  1. Also called: poke bonnet a woman's bonnet with a brim that projects at the front, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries
  2. the brim itself
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Word Origin

C18: from poke 1 (in the sense: to thrust out, project)

poke4

noun
  1. short for pokeweed
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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 poking

poke

v.

"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.

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poke

n.1

"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)).

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poke

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.

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poke

n.3

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with poking

poke

In addition to the idioms beginning with poke

  • poke around
  • poke fun at
  • poke one's nose into

also see:

  • make fun of (poke fun at)
  • pig in a poke
  • take a poke at
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.