po·​key | \ˈpō-kē \
plural pokeys

Definition of pokey 


: jail

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Synonyms for pokey


bastille, big house [slang], bridewell, brig, calaboose, can, clink [slang], cooler, coop, guardroom, hock, hold, hoosegow, jail, jailhouse, joint [slang], jug, lockup, nick [British slang], pen, penitentiary, prison, quod [British slang], slam, slammer, stir [slang], stockade, tolbooth [Scottish]

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Examples of pokey in a Sentence

joked about the time he passed out on the street and woke up in the pokey

Recent Examples on the Web

Third-party chargers are capped to a pokey 5W charging speed. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "DRM for chargers? Google Pixel 3 locks fast Qi charging to certified chargers [Update]," 23 Oct. 2018 The rink is a favorite of area students and made headlines in 2015 for being the place where police killed the hokey pokey. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "A South Carolina Teen Was Arrested, Charged, and Released for Dumping Cooking Oil in a Roller Skating Rink," 17 July 2018 Days earlier, Mueller had asked a judge to revoke Manafort’s $10 million bail and put him in the pokey. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "Donald Trump Still Doesn’t Know the Words to “God Bless America,” and More News We Learned This Week," 10 June 2018 The majority of Americans want a second special counsel appointed because of all the hokey pokey. Fox News, "Hillary Clinton blames another group for her election loss," 3 May 2018 Cage was, however, ardently expressing his deep-seated disdain -- for the hokey-pokey. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "How Nicolas Cage's disdain for the hokey-pokey inspired him in 'Mom and Dad'," 18 Jan. 2018 In November 1983, Lewis called assistant U.S. attorney Jeremy Margolis, who had helped to put him in the pokey. Aimee Levitt, Chicago Reader, "Archive Dive / Crime / News Going deep into the ‘Tylenol murders’ and the mind of the extortionist who claimed responsibility," 2 Feb. 2018 That's how Mitchell and the rest of them ended up in the federal pokey. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "Jeff Sessions Is Not Donald Trump's Lawyer," 18 Oct. 2017 Poke isn’t pronounced like something one does with a stick, or as in doing the hokey pokey. Julie Jargon, WSJ, "I’ll Have a Merlot With That Dish I Can’t Pronounce," 15 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pokey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pokey

circa 1919, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pokey

origin unknown

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Statistics for pokey

Last Updated

25 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for pokey

The first known use of pokey was circa 1919

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Comments on pokey

What made you want to look up pokey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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