from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To push or jab at, as with a finger or an arm; prod.
  • transitive v. To make (a hole or pathway, for example) by or as if by prodding, elbowing, or jabbing: I poked my way to the front of the crowd.
  • transitive v. To push; thrust: A seal poked its head out of the water.
  • transitive v. To stir (a fire) by prodding the wood or coal with a poker or stick.
  • transitive v. Slang To strike; punch.
  • intransitive v. To make thrusts or jabs, as with a stick or poker.
  • intransitive v. To pry or meddle; intrude: poking into another's business.
  • intransitive v. To search or look curiously in a desultory manner: poked about in the desk.
  • intransitive v. To proceed in a slow or lazy manner; putter: just poked along all morning.
  • intransitive v. To thrust forward; appear: The child's head poked from under the blankets.
  • n. A push, thrust, or jab.
  • n. Slang A punch or blow with the fist: a poke in the jaw.
  • n. One who moves slowly or aimlessly; a dawdler.
  • idiom poke fun at To ridicule in a mischievous manner; tease.
  • n. A projecting brim at the front of a bonnet.
  • n. A large bonnet having a projecting brim.
  • n. Chiefly Southern U.S. A sack; a bag.
  • n. Pokeweed.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To poke a fire to remove ash or promote burning.
  • v. To modify the value stored in (a memory address).
  • n. A lazy person; a dawdler.
  • n. A stupid or uninteresting person.
  • n. A device to prevent an animal from leaping or breaking through fences, consisting of a yoke with a pole inserted, pointed forward.
  • n. The storage of a value in a memory address, typically to modify the behaviour of a program or to cheat at a video game.
  • n. An ice cream cone.
  • n. Pokeweed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large North American herb of the genus Phytolacca (Phytolacca decandra), bearing dark purple juicy berries; -- called also garget, pigeon berry, pocan, and pokeweed. The root and berries have emetic and purgative properties, and are used in medicine. The young shoots are sometimes eaten as a substitute for asparagus, and the berries are said to be used in Europe to color wine.
  • n. A bag; a sack; a pocket.
  • n. A long, wide sleeve; -- called also poke sleeve.
  • n. The act of poking; a thrust; a jog.
  • n. A lazy person; a dawdler; also, a stupid or uninteresting person.
  • n. A contrivance to prevent an animal from leaping or breaking through fences. It consists of a yoke with a pole inserted, pointed forward.
  • intransitive v. To search; to feel one's way, as in the dark; to grope.
  • transitive v. To thrust or push against or into with anything pointed; hence, to stir up; to excite.
  • transitive v. To thrust with the horns; to gore.
  • transitive v. To put a poke on.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To thrust or push against; prod, especially with something long or pointed; prod and stir up: as, to poke a person in the ribs.
  • To push gently; jog.
  • To thrust or push.
  • To force as if by thrusting; urge; incite.
  • To put a poke on: as, to poke an ox or a pig. See poke, n., 3. [U. S.] To set the plaits of (a ruff).
  • To stoop or bend forward in walking.
  • To grope; search; feel or push one's way in or as in the dark; also, to move to and fro; dawdle.
  • In cricket, to bat in a cramped, over-cautious style.
  • n. A gentle thrust or push, especially with something long or pointed; a prod; a dig.
  • n. A poke-bonnet.
  • n. A sort of collar or ox-bow from the lower part of which a short pole projects, placed about the neck of a cow or steer in order to prevent it from jumping fences.
  • n. A lazy person; a dawdler.
  • n. A pocket; a pouch; a bag; a sack.
  • n. A large, wide, bag-like sleeve formerly in vogue. Same as poke-sleeve.
  • n. A bag or bladder filled with air and used by fishermen as a buoy.
  • n. The stomach or swimming-bladder of a fish.
  • n. A cock, as of hay.
  • n. A customary unit of weight for wool, 20 hundredweight.
  • n. Same as pokeweed or garget.
  • n. The small green heron more fully called shitepoke.
  • n. Scrofula.
  • n. In cricket: A cramped, timid batting stroke.
  • n. A batsman who plays in a cramped, over-cautious style.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who takes more time than necessary; someone who lags behind
  • n. a sharp hand gesture (resembling a blow)
  • v. poke or thrust abruptly
  • v. hit hard with the hand, fist, or some heavy instrument
  • v. search or inquire in a meddlesome way
  • n. tall coarse perennial American herb having small white flowers followed by blackish-red berries on long drooping racemes; young fleshy stems are edible; berries and root are poisonous
  • v. make a hole by poking
  • n. (boxing) a blow with the fist
  • v. stir by poking
  • n. a bag made of paper or plastic for holding customer's purchases


Middle English poken, probably from Middle Low German or Middle Dutch.
From poke1.
Middle English, probably from Old North French; see pocket.
Short for dialectal pocan, of Virginia Algonquian origin; akin to puccoon.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Perhaps from Middle Dutch poken OR German poken (both from Proto-Germanic *puk), perhaps imitative. (Wiktionary)
From Anglo-Norman poke, whence pocket (Wiktionary)
From pokeweed, by shortening (Wiktionary)



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  • An ice cream cone (Belfast)

    July 27, 2011

  • Interesting, 'oucho, as I see from your link that poke is also considered as 'local grind'.

    July 31, 2009

  • Poke is also a Hawaiian side dish.

    July 31, 2009

  • And through Facebook. I never said I liked it! ;-)

    December 14, 2007

  • It's an...acquired taste, U. Mostly acquired through poverty.

    December 14, 2007

  • No wonder I'm never hungry.

    December 14, 2007

  • If only I'd known.

    December 14, 2007

  • Context is everything, eh reesetee?

    December 14, 2007

  • Aaaah! So when you poke someone on Facebook, you're actually giving them some of your tall coarse perennial American herb having small white flowers followed by blackish-red berries on long drooping racemes! Now I get it!

    December 13, 2007

  • Actually, WeirdNET is correct on this one, at least if you're from the Southern US where poke (a.k.a. poke salad) is gathered and consumed as a green.

    In Alaska, a small sack of gold is referred to as a poke, clearly having taken the name from the bag itself.

    December 13, 2007

  • "He bought a poke of chips in a shop near Charing Cross and walked, eating them, up Bath Street." - 'Lanark', Alasdair Gray.

    The meaning here appears to be bag.

    December 4, 2007

  • A WeirdNET special :-)

    December 4, 2007