One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
adjectiveNorthern English, Scottish
1Having or showing a sly sense of humor.‘a gentle man with a pawky wit’
wise, sensible, prudent, politic, shrewd, astute, canny, sagacious, common-sense, commonsensical, sound, well advised, well judged, well thought out, considered, thoughtful, perceptive, discerning, clear-sighted, insightful, far-sighted, percipient, discriminating, informed, intelligent, clever, enlightened, logical, rationalView synonyms
- ‘In the Thatcher years, he would turn more to that pawky humour which played around his head and lips throughout his career.’
- ‘So here he is on the pavement outside Southwark Crown Court, giving another of his pawky, defiant pieces to camera.’
- ‘And indeed he is in possession of a pawky sense of humour.’
- ‘Ron was ebullient and optimistic, had a pawky sense of humour, and loved good food, wine, and entertaining.’
- ‘The city has an endearing couthiness and a pithy, pawky sense of humour, capable of laughing at itself (try and find that in Edinburgh).’
- 1.1 Shrewd.‘she shakes her head with a look of pawky, knowing skepticism’
Mid 17th century: from Scots and northern English pawk ‘trick’, of unknown origin.
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