Green’s Dictionary of Slang

moke n.1

[? Devon/Hampshire dial. mokus, a donkey. In DSUE, Partridge suggests Rom. moxio, a donkey, or Moke, the dimin. of the proper name Margaret, on the pattern of mog n.2 (2), moggie n.1 (2); also f. Margaret, a cat]

1. a donkey, an ass.

[UK] ‘Jack of Horslydown’ in Flash Casket 59: His moke is first at Billingsgate, / His cly ne’er vants a crown.
[Ire] ‘Ax My Eye’ Dublin Comic Songster 100: I’ve a randy, dandy, tear up, flare up, / Moke, vot cost eleven bob.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 107: Forward wid the moke, do you hear, or we shall have Oliver looking after us before we know it.
[UK]Thackeray Newcomes I 296: The one who rides from market on a moke.
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 20 Nov. 3/3: ‘Proposals for a New Slang Dictionary’ [...] MOKE-Noun: a Jerusalem pony.
[UK] ‘International Boat Race’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 146: He wack’d the moke till he made him start.
[UK] ‘’Arry on His ’Oliday’ in Punch 13 Oct. 161/1: There’s rollicking rides on a moke.
[NZ]Tuapeka Times (Otago) 16 Sept. 4: He can’t ride a moke either with bridle or winkers.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 17 May 23/1: You don’t often meet with a coster who is an anti-smoker. As a rule he can’t get on without his moke.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Jan. 22/1: An old man and his little boy were driving an ass to the market to sell. ‘What a fool is this fellow,’ said a man upon the road, ‘to be swagging it on foot with his son, that the moke may go light!’.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘A Word with Texas Jack’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 66: So when it comes to ridin’ mokes, or hoistin’ out the Chow, / Or stickin’ up for labour’s rights, we don’t want showin’ how.
[UK]Albert Chevalier ‘The Coster’s Serenade’ 🎵 Seemed that the moke was saying ‘Do me proud;’ Mine is the nobbiest turn-out in the crowd.
[UK]Punch 28 Mar. 217/3: Despite opinions to the contrary I incline to identify the moke with the ass or donkey. [...] In the works of one Punch, a learned writer, who alone redeems the 19th Century from the charge of barbarism, there is an account of a creature Mokeanna, which I take to be the feminine form of moke.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Aug. 9/3: To see him bound upon the moke, / That, bridleless and free, / Is captured by the Proper Bloke – / Who weds the Proper She.
[UK]G. Squiers Skitologues 17: ’E marched ’em up the Old Kent Road wif their barrers and their mokes.
[Ire]S. O’Casey Juno and the Paycock Act II: The voice of Joxer is heard singing [...] ’Me pipe I’ll smoke, as I dhrive me moke’.
[UK]Rover 18 Feb. 28: None [...] thought he’d be ‘ass’ enough to carry his ‘moke’ when it gave up the ghost.
[UK]J. Cary Horse’s Mouth (1948) 259: I was not surprised to hear that Lolie didn’t admire the abstract; no more than if a coster’s moke had told me it didn’t take much interest in St Paul’s dome.
‘Cats on the Rooftops’ in Mess Songs & Rhymes of RAAF 1939-45 1: The donkey on the common is a solitary moke.

2. (also moak) a fool; a bore.

[UK]D.G. Rossetti letter 25 Nov. in Letters (1965) I 282: He has an irreconcilable grudge against a poor moke of a fellow called Archer Gurney .
[US]Letters by an Odd Boy 25: You would have shut up that two-legged moke [...] who only opened his gills to brag.
[US]G.E. Clark Seven Years of a Sailor’s Life 80: Say, old moke, what time does the train start for Bangor? – He don’t know anything.
[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 617: Moke, possibly a remnant of the obsolete moky, which is related to ‘murky,’ is used in New York to designate an old fogy or any old person, disrespectfully spoken to.
[UK]J. Mair Hbk of Phrases 109: Moke, an old person, disrespectfully spoken to.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 24 May 31/3: ‘City Marshal Collins [...] got the drop on a “moke” who tried to pistol him’.
[Aus]Coburg Leader (Vic.) 5 Oct. 4/3: There is a boy named Dukie. / Of course he is a moke.
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 6: moke n. [...] A senseless, foolish fellow.
[US]T.J. Hains Mr Trunnell Mate of the Ship ‘Pirate’ Ch. vii: May the devil grab me, ye moke, if I wouldn’t rather swell up an’ bust wid th’ scurvy than swallow them fellows kickin’.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 46: moke, n. A moderate bore.
[US]Out West Oct. 240: This same lady [...] considers the user of ‘in the push,’ — synonymous with ‘in the swim,’ — ’moak,’ ‘cove,’ et cetera, a subject for missionary effort.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 10 July 3/4: Tod H. looked a real moke when they caught him in bed with his pants on .
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 199: moke, about the same meaning and usage as mutt, or boob.
[Aus]R. Tate Doughman 151: A gelded old moke, he called me!
[US]R. Price Clockers 505: A lot of running around knocking myself out and feeling like a moke.
H. Wilkinson Cincinnati Enquirer 4 Oct. 🌐 These high-priced talking heads who have been yammering on the network news shows for months about how this great bilious cloud of Bill Clinton will hang like a pall over this year’s congressional elections are going to look like grade A mokes if you people don’t get with the program.
[US]D. Winslow Winter of Frankie Machine (2007) 43: Herbie got clipped [...] and a couple of low-level mokes confessed to it.

3. (US) a prostitute [but note mawkes n. (2)].

[US]Criminal Life (NY) 19 Dec. n.p.: F. McLaughlin visits Broaday too often after drunken women and moaks.

4. (US und.) a pickpocket; a confidence trickster.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 21 Sept. n.p.: Owing to the [...] presence of a ‘fly-cop’ business outside was duff, although a ‘mob’ of city ‘mokes’ were on the lookout for ‘swag’ but were very ‘leery’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 6 Nov. 11/3: [headline] The Awful Plight of a Tender Young Lawyer — Left Shivering in a Blanket While two Mokes Walk Off With His Clothing.

5. (Aus.) a horse, often a second-rate one.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Nov. 20/1: The bushman then picked up the revolver and made the trooper handcuff himself, and walk ahead, while he [...] comfortably rode the Government moke. On arriving at their destination, the bushman [...] hand[ed] over the policeman, his horse, and revolver to the inspector in charge.
[Aus]G. Boothby On the Wallaby 266: He only appears sulky and says he wishes they’d give him ‘a bit better moke, and he’d give ’em a run for their money, anyhow!’.
[Aus]W.T. Goodge ‘Great Australian Slanguage’ in Baker Aus. Lang. (1945) 117: And a bosom friend’s a cobber, / And a horse a prad or moke.
[Aus]J. Furphy Such is Life 8: Grey mare belongs to you, boss — don’t she? — an’ the black moke with the Roman nose follerin’?
[Aus]L. Stone Jonah 123: Wait till I put the nosebag on the moke.
[UK]F. Anthony ‘Gus Buys a Horse’ in Me And Gus (1977) 17: What’s the use of shooting a good moke like that just because she’s high-spirited?
[UK]F. Anthony ‘Gus Tomlins’ in Me And Gus (1977) 122: The old moke just dropped off into a sleep.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 71: Moke [...] a horse, especially one of inferior type.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Four-Legged Lottery 176: Darby Munro stealing a weight for age race on a moke.
[Aus]T. Ronan Packhorse and Pearling Boat 157: Our mokes got a good bellyful of weedy, luke warm, but still drinkable water.
[Aus]T. Ronan Mighty Men on Horseback 60: I slid to the ground, hooked my old moke’s bridle to the nearest post.
[NZ]J. Charles Black Billy Tea 9: I used to go to every show / Where they had a buck-jump ring. / The wildest moke I thought a joke, / I really had a fling.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 73/1: moke an inferior horse, or jocular reference to a horse.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].

In compounds

magic moke (n.)

(Aus.) a motor bicycle.

[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 22 Mar. 12/1: They Say [...] That Dave M seems to like his ‘magic moke.’ He is on it every night. Wonder what its horse power is.

In phrases

cop a moke (v.)

(US prison) to escape, lit. ‘grab a donkey’.

Nat. Economic League Qly 14-16 21: I suspected Mike wanted to escape — ‘cop a moke’ as they say.
[US]L.E. Lawes Twenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing 61: I thought it over, expecting that Mike wanted to get away, ‘cop a moke’ they termed it in those days.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 274: ‘Cop a moke,’ was his advice to Jack.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 107: Cop a Moke To escape from prison.