Green’s Dictionary of Slang

poke n.1

1. sexual intercourse.

[UK] ‘Bonny Peggy Ramsey’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) II 152: Peg, thee and Ise grin a poke, and we to War will leanes.
[UK] ‘Kate Randy’ Secret Songster 7: But believe all my jokes – if you’d had half the pokes, in the eye, / You’d be blind e’er you seed this Kate Randy.
[UK] ‘Sally May’ Nancy Dawson’s Cabinet of Songs 8: There’s only one thing now I crave [...] A poke at Sally May.
[UK]C. Deveureux Venus in India II 124: I want a poke, and I am going to fuck this girl.
[UK]C. Prendergast Sadopaideia 26: And then Muriel! What a gorgeous poke. How her tongue had caressed my old man.
[UK] ‘Cats on the Rooftops’ in Bold (1979) 48: The donkey is a funny bloke, / Seldom seems to have a poke.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 56: There once was a jolly old bloke / Who picked up a girl for a poke. / He took down her pants, / Fucked her into a trance, / And then shit in her shoe for a joke.
‘Cats on the Rooftops’ in Mess Songs & Rhymes of RAAF 1939-45 1: The donkey on the common is a solitary moke, / And it’s very very seldom that he ever gets a poke.
[UK]K. Amis letter 8 Sept. in Leader (2000) 291: The poke-invite could be placed anywhere off-stage.
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[Aus]D. Maitland Breaking Out 63: Rolling home pissed as a tick and ripping off a quick poke before shut-eye.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 186: At eight hundred quid, it’s probably the most expensive poke of your life!
[UK]I. Welsh ‘A Soft Touch’ in Acid House 51: If ye want a poke at it again [...] jist gies a shout.
[NZ]P. Shannon Davey Darling 30: What sort of thing . . . having a poke?

2. a blow; thus take a poke at

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Poke, a Blow with the First. I’ll lend you a Poke, I’ll give you a blow.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker II 101: I never liked the critter, and always gave him a poke when I got a chance.
[UK]A. Morrison Tales of Mean Streets (1983) 90: Good lad! [...] Nothink like pluck. but you musn’t go to pieces ’alf through the round. Was it a awk’ard poke upset ye?
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 68: Some day you’ll get too gay an’ a guy’ll give you a funny poke.
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 60: ‘McClusky hits him another poke, an’ down he goes’.
[UK]New Boys’ World 29 Dec. 95: S’pose yer let’s me ’ave a rub at yer nah – eh? Jist two or three pokes fer luck?
[US]Van Loan ‘The Spotted Sheep’ in Taking the Count 111: You’re paid for taking a poke on the jaw.
[UK](con. WW1) P. MacDonald Patrol 11: He’s asking for a poke in the ear!
[US]D. Hammett ‘$106,000 Blood Money’ Story Omnibus (1966) 326: Don’t let your youthful gallantry lead you to a poke in the jaw this time.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 206: He got a poke in the jaw for an answer.
[UK]J. Cary Horse’s Mouth (1948) 103: A poke in the eye.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 263: The way you’re sticking your nose into other people’s business you’ll end up with such a poke in it you’ll be no use to anyone for the rest of the evening.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 168: You get a poke in the mush.
[US]J. Webb Fields of Fire (1980) 21: John Wayne woulda dropped him a poke between the eyes.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 177: Anybody else want a poke at him?
W. Orr Peeling the Onion 41: Lucky the cut didn’t get my eye; lucky the poke on the chin didn’t knock out my teeth.
S. Brown Stripped to Kill 28: You have something to offer to the conversation or just looking for a friendly poke on the jaw?

3. in fig. use, a verbal attack.

[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 28 Apr. 128/1: You had better go home to your poor wife [...] look out old boy or you will have a mighty poke.
[UK]Sam Sly 27 Jan. 2/1: Sam advises old C—as [...] not to get so drunk. Don't let Sam see you drunk again, or he will give you another poke.
[UK]Observer Screen 20 June 6: There are constant pokes at English eccentricities.

4. a woman seen as a partner in sexual intercourse; often as good poke, lousy poke; occas. of a man.

[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) III 541: She was not a voluptuous poke to me, but why I can only guess at now. [Ibid.] IX 1896: There sat her sister watching us. — ‘He’s a lovely poke isn’t he?’ said she.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 196: I knew Elaine was a poke for the boys.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 168: You sure she’s a girl and not some shit-chute poke acting fly?
[UK]J. Cameron Hell on Hoe Street 26: Kelly was the best poke this side of Princess Diana.

5. usu. of cars or motorcycles, speed, horsepower.

[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 66: Slow poke. Speed up.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 19 June 56: This is really nice, very positive acceleration [...] and has a lot of poke.

6. in drug uses.

(a) a puff on a marijuana cigarette.

[US]O. Duke Sideman 274: He exhaled, ‘sure you don’t want a poke?’.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970).
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 33: He took a few deep pokes and sat it [i.e. a joint] on the ashtray.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 343: poke: A drag of a marijuana cigarette.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 17: Poke — Marijuana; to smoke marijuana.

(b) a puff on a crack cocaine pipe.

[US]F.X. Toole Rope Burns 175: A strawberry was what you picked up off the street, a crack whore, one of the street girls and women who gave head for a poke on a stained glass pipe.

In phrases

take a poke at (v.)

1. (orig. US) to assault, to aim a blow at.

[US]D. Runyon ‘The Defence of Strikerville’ in From First To Last (1954) 11: Everyone had taken a verbal poke at that despised arm of the military resources.
[US]D. Hammett ‘The Scorched Face’ Story Omnibus (1966) 66: For a moment I thought he was going to take a poke at me.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 30: No one can get away with takin’ a poke at me. [Ibid.] 126: He’d take a few more pokes at Reilley.
[US]J.H. O’Hara Pal Joey 10: A guy will walk up and take a poke at you.
[Aus]D. Stivens Courtship of Uncle Henry 75: If I’d known I might have taken a poke at Thompson.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 242: I’d have liked to take a poke at him but he had me by the wool.
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 184: Did I run out and take a poke at the chief yobbo.
[US](con. 1940s) M. Dibner Admiral (1968) 152: It’s time somebody took a poke at those Nip bastards.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 295: The sheriff didn’t think it was a crime to hit a hippie, as a matter of fact took a poke at ’em hisself whenever he could.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 22: Then both of us took a good poke in the brisket but Bill didn’t survive his.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 100: That got me so goddamn mad I’d take a poke at any guy no matter how big he was.
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 3: Didn’t he realise he was taking a poke at a senior adviser to the Minister for Transport.

2. to have a try, to attempt.

L. Deighton Spy Story 201: I’d like to take a poke at it.
E. Briggs Proud Servant 109: I decided to take a poke at it.
E. Busby Throwaway Princess 149: There’s still time—you can take a poke at it and tell your children!

3. to attack verbally, to cause problems for.

[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 177: The day I don’t take some sort of poke at ’em I figure is a day lost.