po·​key | \ ˈpō-kē How to pronounce pokey (audio) \
plural pokeys

Definition of pokey

: jail

Keep scrolling for more

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]

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Six years before this drama unfolded, Beyoncé was on the other side of the awards-show hokey-pokey. Paul Grein, Billboard, "10 Years After Kanye/Taylor Drama, All the Times an Artist Lost at the VMAs & Won Video of the Year Later That Night," 19 Aug. 2019 When weighed down by children or packages, the bike can get a little pokey, especially when climbing uphill. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "RadWagon electric cargo bike review: the SUV of e-bikes," 8 Aug. 2019 Yes, that hokey-pokey. Turns out, Cage hates that song. Hates it. Mike Scott, NOLA.com, "How Nicolas Cage's disdain for the hokey-pokey inspired him in 'Mom and Dad'," 18 Jan. 2018 But another shoe is yet to drop: next week, a different judge will sentence him on two conspiracy counts, charges that each carry a maximum of five years, which could potentially add years to his time in the pokey. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Can a Flagpole File a Harassment Lawsuit?," 10 Mar. 2019 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of pokey

circa 1919, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pokey

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pokey

Statistics for pokey

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pokey

The first known use of pokey was circa 1919

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on pokey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pokey

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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!