adjective, pok·i·er, pok·i·est. Informal.

puttering; slow; dull: poky drivers.
(of a place) small and cramped: a poky little room.
(of dress) dowdy.

noun, plural pok·ies.

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 formspok·i·ly, adverbpok·i·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for poky

Contemporary Examples of poky

  • “Come on,” she urged the poky car as it struggled up the slope.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Running for Her Life

    Stephen L. Carter

    July 14, 2009

Historical Examples of poky

  • 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.

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

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for poky



adjective pokier or pokiest

informal (esp of rooms) small and cramped
without speed or energy; slow


the poky mainly US and Canadian slang prison
Derived Formspokily, adverbpokiness, noun

Word Origin for poky

C19: from poke 1 (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

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