Main definitions of poke in English

: poke1poke2poke3

poke1

verb

  • 1with object Jab or prod (someone or something), especially with one's finger.

    ‘he poked Benny in the ribs and pointed’
    no object ‘they sniffed, felt, and poked at everything they bought’
    • ‘Abi was taken to an admissions room, where she was poked and prodded and monitored by various midwives and doctors.’
    • ‘She tries poking them with a stick to get them down and then throwing a rock.’
    • ‘Don't poke me or prod me when you are talking to me.’
    • ‘But I think that just poking him with a stick and expecting him to leap to his feet and resume his journey as if no time had passed would serve only to hasten his final death throes.’
    • ‘The use of the pejorative ‘insidious’ is a little unnecessary, but I'm not one who should poke people with sticks for using flowery language.’
    • ‘We've been poking him with a sharp stick, and if you do that long enough, you have to either shoot the dog or get bit.’
    • ‘She believed that she got the lead poisoning when a sharp pencil was poked into her cheek.’
    • ‘Sometimes, you see a hornet's nest, and some wise part of you knows that you shouldn't go poking it with a stick.’
    • ‘Have you ever experienced the sensation of falling into a deep sleep, only to have someone poke your ears with sharp needles?’
    • ‘It only seemed like I had been asleep for two minutes when I was poked at and I nearly jumped out of my skin before I realized our car ride was over.’
    • ‘We poked it with a stick and established that the wasps had moved out.’
    • ‘It is poked repeatedly with a stick until it is absolutely livid.’
    • ‘It was a real ‘crikey’ moment, and I wanted wrestle it, or at least poke it with a stick, but nobody had a camera so there was no point.’
    • ‘That is followed by the curious urge to poke it with a stick.’
    • ‘If people are poked with a sharp enough stick, like the threat of a large-scale war, they'll respond.’
    • ‘They were dreadful sleepers, but I'm sure that was because I was prodding and poking them all the time!’
    • ‘Sometimes the children can be seen poking them with sticks.’
    • ‘I grinned and stepped back slightly, but was pushed further as he poked me with the stick.’
    • ‘It needles you, it shoves, it pokes you in the side - not hard, but hard enough to make you yelp.’
    • ‘We rode the subway out to the Bronx Zoo, and joined the hordes strolling around poking the animals with sticks.’
    prod, jab, dig, nudge, tap, butt, ram, shove, punch, prick, jolt
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Prod and stir (a fire) with a poker to make it burn more fiercely.
      • ‘He poked at the fire with a stick pushing unburned dung cakes into the centre.’
      • ‘After a while I rose and poked a few more sticks into the fire.’
      • ‘She again sat beside the fire, poking at its dead embers with a fallen green tree branch.’
      • ‘After walking for a while they found a wizard sitting in a small clearing poking at a fire with a stick.’
      • ‘One person, the leader, judging by the odd tufts of fur in random spots on his cloak, poked at the fire with his staff.’
      • ‘Then I went back to the clearing, where Solastian was absently poking at the fire and completely oblivious to everything else.’
      • ‘With an exasperated sigh, she stood and sat by the fire, poking the embers absent-mindedly with a stick.’
      • ‘The page stirred from his pallet on the hearth and poked the fire back to life, then padded over, yawning, with a candle.’
      • ‘He poked the partially burned wood a few times with a stick and flames rose and crackled as they burned brighter.’
      • ‘Then someone poked at the fire and it flared up, illuminating the room.’
      • ‘The girl threw a log on the fire, and poked the embers into flames.’
      • ‘Matt was silent as he continued to poke at the fire, every so often looking up from the flames to gaze at the lake's distant shore.’
      • ‘This morning we are sitting in my friend's big livingroom, poking at the fire in the big fireplace.’
      • ‘Jun zoned out it seemed, she was poking at the fire.’
      • ‘Calomar had opened the door to the wood burning stove, and was poking at the fire with a metal poker he had found.’
      • ‘Kumma was poking at the fire with a stick, his eyes flickering the blaze.’
      • ‘They were seated in a square surrounding the flickering embers, and every now and then somebody would poke the fire to keep it burning.’
      • ‘From 1946 onwards, I have continuously poked fires with the help of various materials.’
      • ‘She poked at the fire causing it to flare up and throw more shadows across their faces.’
      • ‘He watched her dead-white face for a while, and then went to poke at the fire some more.’
    2. 1.2 Make (a hole) in something by prodding or jabbing at it.
      • ‘A dibble was an instrument for poking holes in the ground for planting.’
      • ‘‘We use it to decide what to do as far as poking holes in the ground,’ says Davis.’
      • ‘You've poked more holes into what's left of my ship, and I don't want to wait around here for whoever may come looking.’
      • ‘You must poke very small holes though your liner so that aerobic conditions are not created in the soil.’
      • ‘I bought pie plates and string, grabbed a hammer and nail, and began poking holes and stringing pie plates.’
      • ‘There were four large sliding doors in the house and beyond them a shrine. I used to be scolded for poking holes in the sliding doors.’
      • ‘Poke holes in the figs and repeat this step one more time.’
      • ‘One could go on poking holes, but the improbabilities are legion.’
      • ‘For those who are curious, the researchers blew up the eggshells by poking holes in the top and the bottom, emptying them of egg, and filling them with hydrogen gas instead.’
      • ‘The great emotional issue for most oil producing states is upstream investment - the actual poking of holes in the ground.’
      • ‘She poked a few more holes in the belt and then cinched it around her waist.’
      • ‘Even six thousand pounds of ballast wasn't enough to sink it, so we had to try to de-gas it by poking holes in it, and eventually it sank.’
      • ‘Trent and I had just sneaked into the storage closet when his gaze drifted to the snare drum, and before I knew it, he started poking holes into it.’
      • ‘It growled at him and latched its teeth onto the windshield, the very tips of its fangs breaching the meager shield and poking holes in the glass.’
      • ‘Alternatively, poke holes in the can and throw it out attached to a length of string - you'll need to retrieve it to keep poking more holes in it as the contents disappear.’
      • ‘The whole week went real smooth, except for one little incident where I kind of poked a hole in one of the pictures.’
    3. 1.3vulgar slang (of a man) have sexual intercourse with (another person)
  • 2with object and adverbial of direction Thrust (something) in a particular direction.

    ‘I poked my head around the door to see what was going on’
    ‘she poked her tongue out’
    • ‘A man with a tonsure, much like the friars of old, poked his awkwardly shaped head out of the opening.’
    • ‘Delia quickly caught their senile cat, Picasso, as he was poking his fat little head out.’
    • ‘The doctor, a balding man with a pitted red nose, poked his head around the doorframe.’
    • ‘The goat stands on his hind legs, embraces the glass, and pokes his long pointed tongue into the foam.’
    • ‘Finally, the door creaked over and my father poked his skinny, bony face into the room.’
    • ‘Mr. Mbewe slides the stick shift into gear then rests his left hand on the wheel, poking a casual right elbow out of the window.’
    • ‘The door slid open with a familiar creak, an untidy head poking itself through, silhouetted against the warm glow of the lamps outside.’
    • ‘The traveller is shown poking his head and right arm through a boundary of stars enclosing this everyday world and reaching out to a universe of wonders beyond.’
    • ‘I make almost no noise as I stumble down the hallway but still Jomei opens his door and pokes a sleepy orange head out, ‘Where are you going?’’
    • ‘Follow this course in life and your nose'll never poke itself beyond a book.’
    • ‘The woman steps up to the door, pokes her head in and asks: ‘Is this the 307 bus?’’
    • ‘He just poked out his tongue from behind his helmet as he sent the puck back to the centre.’
    • ‘That was easily enough to poke one's head into the water.’
    • ‘Akos poked his great shaggy head around the frame and looked at her.’
    • ‘A small, shriveled head poked itself out from the miniature doorway and peered at her.’
    • ‘At the sound of his rumbling voice, Gualtero poked his tousled brown head out of the shadows.’
    1. 2.1no object , with adverbial Protrude and be or become visible.
      ‘she had wisps of gray hair poking out from under her bonnet’
      • ‘Her fang teeth were starting to extend, poking down so they just visible in her open mouth, and her hands gripped the arms of the chair.’
      • ‘Ben watched her as she worked, wisps of her hair falling about her face and her tongue just visibly poking out of the corner of her mouth as she concentrated.’
      • ‘His shirt was open to the second button; a few curly hairs poked through.’
      • ‘Leonard was a very tall young man, with bright blonde hair poking out from under his tattered cowboy hat.’
      • ‘One had a large backwards blue cap on his head, messy black hair poking out from underneath.’
      • ‘There was a big stick poking out of one of the trashcans.’
      • ‘We must have walked for about an hour, and were on the point of turning round and returning to the caravan, when we spotted a stick poking out of the water, about twenty yards offshore.’
      • ‘My father's short reddish brown hair was poking out from beneath his hat, and my mother's dark hair wasn't far from being out of order as well.’
      • ‘Wiry white and grey hairs poked out of his thick, flabby ears and his blue eyes were shoved deep into this rough-skinned face.’
      • ‘Tufts of springy white hair poked up from the center of the crown.’
      • ‘Small bits of dark brown hair poked out from underneath his hat.’
      • ‘Dark brown hair poked out around the edge of his white baseball cap.’
      • ‘White hair poked out from under his cap and a pipe was clenched between his teeth.’
      • ‘When I awoke, I was covered in strange purple hairs that poked out through my clothes and made a sound only dogs could hear.’
      • ‘I can recall how O looked as if it were yesterday: lying next to me, his shirt slightly undone, the top of his chest hair poking out, huge grin on his face.’
      • ‘The shock of black hair poking from the top of his white OU visor was wet and mussed from a sideline celebration shower.’
      • ‘We cut to the next scene, where he is now under a large mound of sand, now with only the top of his head visible, poking through the side of the mound.’
      • ‘With such visible history, the sun-blackened ruins poking out from the undergrowth and overgrowth, Nevis is fun to explore.’
      • ‘Pausing, he scratched a tuft of vibrant red hair poking from beneath his cap.’
      • ‘A widow of several years, she wears a green, yellow and orange headscarf, from which black and grey curls poke out.’
      stick out, jut out, stand out, protrude, project, extend, loom
      View synonyms
  • 3US informal no object Move slowly; dawdle.

    ‘I was poking along, my vision blocked by that curtain of sleet’
    • ‘A Cadillac with Kansas plates is poking along ahead of me.’
    • ‘But even if you're still poking along on dialup, they're worth it.’
    • ‘She could see a shape poking slowly along it, stopping to feel each nook and cranny.’
    • ‘Yet here was Commonweal still poking along as if nothing had really changed, and still accepting the verities of the cold war as well.’
    • ‘After fifteen minutes of poking along with me to be polite, she gave in to her love of speed and they took off.’
    • ‘Takenaka has already taken some quick steps to speed up a reform process that has been poking along at a snail's pace for ten years.’
    • ‘I'm still poking along at mere bytes a second, but technicians are working day and night to get my connection working again.’

noun

  • 1An act of poking someone or something.

    ‘she gave the fire a poke’
    • ‘Consumer loyalty is rewarded with a poke in the eye.’
    • ‘Her mom gave her a poke and gestured to the table.’
    • ‘We were in the air about 45 minutes when I felt a poke in the ribs and turned to find my row-mate prodding me with his rolled-up reading material.’
    • ‘They're posh girls who talk like lads down the boozer about boobs and bums and can't resist giving them a poke and a prod in a giggly, sapphic way - all very private school changing rooms.’
    • ‘Delia felt a poke and immediately turned to her father, who was holding a piece of toast out for her.’
    • ‘I laughed and gave him one last poke before I let go.’
    • ‘I did not care for the pokes, prods, or interrogation I felt was imminent.’
    • ‘But it was just a question of getting on with it with pokes and prods.’
    • ‘A poke in his side however caught his attention and he looked down to a frowning Shi who had a scolding look on her face.’
    • ‘Lesley Vainikolo also left the Belle Vue battleground early but his double vision from a poke in the eye will not keep him out of this Friday's visit to The Shay to take on Halifax.’
    • ‘With appropriate physical gentleness, have a poke and a prod and check out the territory.’
    • ‘The main purpose of my wee trip was to see my Uncle John and give him a poke and prod prior to his heart surgery.’
    • ‘Her finger moved down my belly ending with a poke as she slowly pulled away backwards, turned and left me in my waking dream.’
    • ‘And he delivers this brilliant poke in the collective eye of manipulative, one-sided documentary makers everywhere.’
    • ‘I liked the fact that it came across as an affectionate poke, and the fact that Garth looked like a cross between one of my friends and that bloke in Can who had the big sidies.’
    • ‘He sighed, then sneezed as an unlucky poke of the stick in the fire sent a cloud of smoke into his face.’
    • ‘I gave the house sale a good poke and prod today and it sounds as if the urgency of our situation has got through.’
    • ‘After a few prods and pokes, he gave an injection for the pain, sat at his desk, lifted the phone and ordered the air ambulance.’
    • ‘Paige was startled out of his musings by a particularly hard poke to his back.’
    • ‘On the one hand, the elections this month gave them a poke in the eye.’
    prod, jab, dig, elbow, nudge, tap, butt
    thrust, push, jab, shove, plunge, insertion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1vulgar slang An act of sexual intercourse.
  • 2a poke aroundinformal A look or search around a place.

  • 3British informal Power or acceleration in a car.

    ‘I expect you'd prefer something with a bit more poke’
    • ‘There is bags of power from way down the rev range and loads of poke in the middle where it is needed for safe overtaking.’
    • ‘Yes it provides a bit of poke, but it would be nice if this 1.6l engine could provide more than its quoted 95PS.’
    • ‘With plenty of poke, fluid handling and more interior space than an airport terminal, the Mondeo swallows my two sprogs and all their concomitant mess with ease.’
    • ‘Breakaway is sharper on the exit of a bend but that has as much to with extra poke and grippier tyres as it does with the suspension.’
    • ‘It is compact, though, and still looks terrific, and the new version has a lot of poke.’
    • ‘Well, the petrol version will get you from to 60 in about two hours, so if you want any poke at all, and surely that's the reason why you're buying a BMW, you have to go for the diesel.’
  • 4A woman's bonnet with a projecting brim or front, popular especially in the early 19th century.

    • ‘A Pennsylvania Amish in a poke bonnet goes next, happy as a bug.’

Phrases

  • be better than a poke in the eye (with a sharp stick)

    • humorous Be welcome or pleasing, even if other circumstances might be better.

      ‘I got a tax rebate—not a huge amount but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick’
      • ‘Not a huge amount but better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.’
      • ‘He's better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.’
      • ‘Getting hold of that is certainly better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick.’
  • poke fun at

    • Tease or make fun of.

      • ‘Did I fancy writing a series of short articles poking fun at all the horrendous food that nobody ate any more?’
      • ‘This is a film that pokes fun at itself and doesn't take itself too seriously.’
      • ‘Laurel has a remarkable ability to poke fun at whatever she's insecure about.’
      • ‘My feelings of anger and disgust, but even stronger emptiness, stopped me from poking fun at all my usual subjects.’
      • ‘I had been out to since sixth grade, not to my family of course, and had had my share of being teased and poked fun at but a few words dropped here and there and it was settled fast.’
      • ‘My middle name smacks of big slobbery dog jokes and yet my last name was the one kids poked fun at in school.’
      • ‘A send-up should be smarter than the films it pokes fun at, but that isn't the case here.’
      • ‘What fun it must have been for the young film-maker to poke fun at the older formula films, and their songs!’
      • ‘It poked fun at all the seriousness that reality TV has become, and it made stereotypical reality TV scenes into comedic segments.’
      • ‘One recent editorial cartoon pokes fun at just how widespread that practice has become.’
      mock, make fun of, laugh at, make jokes about, ridicule, jeer at, sneer at, deride, treat with contempt, treat contemptuously, scorn, laugh to scorn, scoff at, pillory, be sarcastic about, satirize, lampoon, burlesque, parody, tease, taunt, rag, make a monkey of, chaff, jibe at
      View synonyms
  • poke one's nose into

    • informal Take an intrusive interest in.

      • ‘It's also possible to go round the old manor house, to poke your nose into all the barns and have a look at the old farm equipment.’
      • ‘Assuming that my regular schoolwork doesn't kill me, I'll see what I can poke my nose into as far as mysterious magical mischief makers go.’
      • ‘He had poked his nose into all her private affairs from the start, so why shouldn't she return the compliment?’
      • ‘I don't poke my nose into other people's business.’
      • ‘Oddly enough, though, he has something in common with the foreigner who owns much of the British media - he pokes his nose into the country's politics from thousands of miles away!’
      • ‘If we don't help, we're sitting by, being selfish; if we help too much, we're poking our nose into somebody else's business.’
      • ‘At home he has always poked his nose into everything that was going on and we are all mad about him’
      • ‘Also we tend not to get involved in some of the ‘intra-blog battles’ that rage across the web but they can be illuminating sometimes and are often fun to poke your nose into now and then.’
      • ‘I could have trammed up to the river or down to the beach, but both seemed a little too far away today, so I wandered aimlessly in semi-suburbia, poking my nose into odd shops and leaving without buying anything.’
      • ‘You can poke your nose into other people's business, usually without getting it punched.’
      pry into, interfere in, nose around in, intrude on, butt into, meddle with, tamper with
      View synonyms
  • take a poke at someone

    • 1informal Hit or punch someone.

      • ‘Plus, there are these guys I had a bit of an altercation with last week who'd love to take a poke at me, and I ain't about to help them out.’
      • ‘There are advantages and disadvantages to this; the advantage is that, done in a crowded situation, you don't have to be the immediate suspect if you take a poke at someone whose back is turned.’
      • ‘But, like his twin before, he too took a poke at me, which just barely missed as I ducked behind mom, who was frowning in disapproval.’
      • ‘Greengrass came barreling into second like a football blocker this time and I came up thinking I might as well take a poke at him.’
      1. 1.1Criticize someone.
        • ‘Cruelty to Intel now seems to be socially-acceptable, while taking a poke at AMD is right up there with fox hunting and baby seal clubbing.’
        • ‘And of course I couldn't resist taking a poke at Justice Moore and his Ten Commandments monument.’
        • ‘Here it was, Thursday, the fourth day I've had coffee with these fellows, and it's the first time I hear him take a poke at Ivan.’
        • ‘Assuming everything goes as planned and Kerry and Edwards both show up for it, he has a chance to take a poke at Kerry.’
        • ‘She shows depth on the inspirational ‘Get Up Again,’ and the grown-up ‘Our Child,’ and takes a poke at her detractors on ‘You Will Never.’’
        • ‘He also took a poke at Panday's popular statement of giving his blood, sweat and tears to build the UNC.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • poke around/about

    • Look around a place, typically in search of something.

      • ‘Ramsey said search teams looked in burrows and sometimes poked around with sticks.’
      • ‘They rummaged rubbish heaps and poked around stacks of dried straw that lay against one part of the fence.’
      • ‘I'd spent much of the day poking around the village - my young cousin had found a bizarre rusty Victorian-style hook in the garden which had set me to thinking.’
      • ‘They don't like people poking around in their business.’
      • ‘Vittorio spies on Frank as he pokes around the parlor, searching for a hidden compartment.’
      • ‘I roll over and hear our daughter poking around the house in search of dyed eggs.’
      • ‘Believe me, we scoured the countryside and poked around in every old cabin and mining shack we could locate.’
      • ‘But being the smart, sassy psychology student Ashton now is, he starts poking around, and soon people start dying.’
      • ‘But he wasn't convinced and after a bit of poking around said he thought it was more likely to be osteoarthritis, arguing that my hip joints may have simply worn out.’
      • ‘So while southern softies take their dogs for a stroll in the park, northern divers are poking about the wrecks of munitions ships in 40m, in search of unstable explosives for the barbecue.’
      • ‘Is it really so bad that you'd go to the middle of Death Valley in order to not have studio suits poking around your set?’
      • ‘So if you're still poking around the beach in rolled-up trousers and a floppy hat, wishing you could get out to a reading or something, well, you can.’
      • ‘So I was poking around the Chronicle's annual survey of endowments.’
      • ‘He and Hayden were poking around a monsoon drain on Number Thirteen, searching for Hayden's errant drive.’
      • ‘Now we take this phenomenon for granted, but back in those early days, poking around inside a remote computer was heady business.’
      • ‘This still doesn't guarantee a clean sweep though, especially if I start poking around those uncharted corners of the web.’
      • ‘We're still poking around to see what prompted Sherry's change of heart.’
      • ‘I sighed and poked about in the bushes, searching for some sort of knob or button that might turn on the sprinklers.’
      • ‘We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the red states.’
      • ‘It doesn't take much poking around the techie Web sites to find people dreaming hard about physical immortality.’
      search, hunt, rummage, rummage around, forage, scrabble, grub, root about, root around, scavenge, fish about, fish around, rake around, feel around, grope around, nose around, ferret, ferret about, ferret around
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English: origin uncertain; compare with Middle Dutch and Middle Low German poken, of unknown ultimate origin. The noun dates from the late 18th century.

Pronunciation

poke

/poʊk//pōk/

Main definitions of poke in English

: poke1poke2poke3

poke2

noun

Scottish
  • 1A bag or small sack.

    • ‘More exotic Scots words would include stoorsooker pokes, for vacuum cleaner bags and tea-pokies for tea bags.’
    1. 1.1North American informal A purse or wallet.

Phrases

  • a pig in a poke

    • Something that is bought or accepted without knowing its value or seeing it first.

      • ‘To some extent the opposition has bought a pig in a poke here.’
      • ‘I would like to know more about the whole thing and I don't intend voting for a pig in a poke.’
      • ‘It was obvious to many observers, that when the county council went for the Cocklebury Road site, they bought a pig in a poke.’
      • ‘And with a court that's divided 5-4 on so many of those cases, we're not willing to buy a pig in a poke.’
      • ‘For most people, buying an air ticket is buying a pig in a poke.’
      • ‘Managers sometimes bought a pig in a poke - not fully understanding what they were getting.’
      • ‘The former mayor said: ‘People are being asked to vote for a pig in a poke - it is all so uncertain.’’
      • ‘As far as I can see we're being asked to buy a pig in a poke.’
      • ‘Let us hope that they recognise a pig in a poke when it is offered to them.’
      • ‘I'm afraid I can't offer much information on the state of the company - they haven't spoken with me for ages so it's a bit of a pig in a poke.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old Northern French poke, variant of Old French poche ‘pocket’. Compare with pouch.

Pronunciation

poke

/pōk//poʊk/

Main definitions of poke in English

: poke1poke2poke3

poke3

noun

Origin

Early 18th century: from Algonquian poughkone (see puccoon).

Pronunciation

poke

/pōk//poʊk/