Definition of pokey in English:



usually the pokey
North American
  • Prison.

    ‘25 years in the pokey’
    • ‘The province of Saskatchewan has in its code of laws no recourse for punishment of non-payment of fines other than to toss the offender into the pokey.’
    • ‘Such is life in the big house, the joint, or the pokey.’
    • ‘Case dismissed, and the prosecutor gets to spend the night in the pokey for charging against the film.’
    • ‘But let a bad word creep into a school principal's vocabulary, and he'll go straight to the pokey.’
    • ‘Having worked to learn fluent French - surely passing ones time in the pokey by learning a second language and earning a BA counts as some form of rehabilitation?’
    • ‘No one of any significance has spent any time in the pokey.’
    • ‘Check your local obscenity ordinances before you do this one or you could land up in the pokey.’
    • ‘By convention's end, about 1,800 protesters had passed through the temporary pokey at Pier 57.’
    • ‘We reflect on my impending visit to the pokey over a fry-up.’
    • ‘No, there is no law that will send you to the pokey if you break this guideline however, this is a rule that most follow and is a recommended guideline so you don't appear too pushy.’
    • ‘Once free they did what escaped prisoners do: Swiped a pickup truck, cavorted on the outside for a while, then got hauled back into the pokey.’
    • ‘And I didn't want to go to the pokey for - well, never you mind what I could go to the pokey for.’
    • ‘In Armstrong's case, his identity thief plead guilty to a laundry list of charges and is slated to spend just five years in the pokey.’
    • ‘Hurry up or I'll ask the sheriff to take you guys to the pokey.’
    • ‘We don't need a new law; we need to find the executives who did this and throw them in the pokey for a long time.’
    • ‘It seemed a laughable charge, but the judge was upset, saying Emery was arrogant and flouting the law - which he clearly was - and gave him 92 days in the pokey.’
    • ‘As she approaches the prospect of spending a bit of time in the federal pokey for her conviction in that insider stock-dumping scheme, she already has a plan to lighten her jail term.’
    • ‘Determined not to be ‘treated like a piece of bookstore trade,’ one of these drama boys almost turns a semi-innocent trip to the sauna into in a trip to the pokey for one of them.’
    • ‘He's resolute about going to the pokey or the grave fighting for the little people.’
    • ‘I could have ended up in the pokey for questioning.’


Early 20th century: alteration of pogey (an early sense being ‘hostel for the needy’), perhaps influenced by poky.