Green’s Dictionary of Slang

poke n.2

[SE poke, a bag; ult. Fr. poche, pocket]

1. stolen property.

[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]H. Baumann Londinismen (2nd edn).

2. (US) a wallet, a purse.

[[UK]R. Copland Hye way to the Spyttel House Biiii: Mighty beggars with theyr pokes and croutches].
[[UK]A. Boorde Introduction of Knowledge (1870) 181: I haue money in my pooke].
[[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Poke a Bag, Sack, or Pocket. To buy a Pig in a Poke, or unsight or unseen. To carry your Passions in your Pocket, or smother your Passions].
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker I 44: What is it that ‘fetters’ the heels of a young country, and hangs like a ‘poke’ around its neck?
[UK]Liverpool Mercury 14 Jan. 38/2: ‘He could wire a man of his poke’.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 27: The badger got under the doss, and frisked the bloke’s pokes of two centuries and a half, and then bounced the flat till he mizzled.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 5/2: We had not ‘worked’ it long before the ‘fly-cops’ were out in quest of us, owing to the many ‘pokes nailed’.
[US]Memphis Dly Appeal (TN) 12 Mar. 3/3: ‘I slung my hook’ and ‘collared his poke’.
[UK]C.S. Calverley ‘The Cock and The Bull’ Works (1901) 111: I [...] clapt it i’ my poke.
[UK]Dundee Courier 12 Feb. 7/5: Billy’s been home [...] after bringing three pokes, give stooks, and a roll of sweet (tobacco).
[UK]J.W. Horsley Jottings from Jail 24: Kit, from 7 dials, remanded innocent on 2 charges of pokes, only out 2 weeks for a Drag, expects to get fullied or else chucked.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 202: I drew the honey from his poke, fifty quid it was.
[Aus]Truth (Perth) 1 Oct. 4/7: When they talk about ‘the old / Pot-an’-pan,’ / You will tumble that they mean / The ‘old man,’ / Who’s perhaps a ‘bonser bloke,’ / Who can nimbly ‘prig a poke’ / Or ‘can stand in any joke’ / You may plan.
[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 192: Dig down into your poke, kid.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 42: One of these men, the most skilled, is called a ‘wire’ or ‘tool,’ and it is he who actually ‘lifts’ the ‘poke’ of the victim.
[US] in W.C. Fields By Himself (1974) 311: A thief had broken into my tent and tried to roll me for my poke.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Sing Sing Sweeney’ in Crack Detective Jan. [Internet] I saw she was in some kinda trouble and so I just slips over and puts some dough in her poke.
[UK]J. Curtis Look Long Upon a Monkey 76: He’d had a whale of a time [...] flashing money about, nigger-rich, and the wide boys had spotted him, coshed him and rolled him for his poke.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 36: A walking, living, round balloon with a fat ‘poke’.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 197: Poke See Poggler [i.e. purse or wallet].
[US](con. 1940s–60s) H. Huncke ‘Bill Burroughs’ in Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 152: Searching for the wallet — or poke, as Phil referred to it.
[US]H. Roth From Bondage 232: I got a fiver in my wallet. I got five bucks in my poke.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 123: This would mean I’d go up about four pay grades, plus a lot more in the pension poke.

3. a bag of food handed out to a beggar.

[UK]T. Hood ‘Last Man’ Works (1862) I 242: I did not like that strange beggar man, / He look’d so up at the heavens. / Anon he shook out his empty poke; / ‘There’s the crumbs,’ saith he, ‘for the ravens!’.
[US]C. Woofter ‘Dialect Words and Phrases from West-Central West Virginia’ in AS II:8 362: Put his lunch in a paper poke today.
[UK]M. Marshall Tramp-Royal on the Toby 69: I opened the big poke of tucker which I had been presented with.

4. (Irish/US) a cone-shaped bag, esp. for sweets or chips, or an ice-cream cornet; thus poke man, an ice-cream seller; poke van, an ice-cream van.

[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:i 81: ‘I want a poke of goobers.’ [Ibid.] 90: poke, n. Bag. ‘The sugar’s in that paper poke.’.
[US]H. Shearin ‘An Eastern Kentucky Dialect Word-List’ in DN III vii 539: poke, n. A paper bag.
[UK]M. Marshall Travels of Tramp-Royal 243: The big poke of jujubes.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Come Day – Go Day n.p.: They emerged again onto the footpaths, carrying four penny, brown paper pokes of chips .
[UK]J. Franklyn Cockney 115: Haricot beans, dried peas, rice, and such commodities, were weighed out and served in paper ‘pokes’.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct.
[UK]Indep. 1 Nov. 7: His standard diet of a ‘poke’ of chips fits the stereotype of the working-class Glaswegian.

5. a roll of banknotes, money in general.

[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 30/2: POKE. 1. Purse or wallet. 2. Jack.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 156: My hand was on the big fat ‘poke’.
[US](con. 1910s) C.W. Willemse Behind The Green Lights 165: Oh, I’ve got a poke (a roll of money) here that I want to give to the lamister.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke 60: I was making my poke too.
[US]C. Himes Crazy Kill 79: After I grabbed that poke I was running so fast I didn’t have time to see nothing.
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 30: poke – Bread, paper, another word for money.
[US]Big L ‘Ebonics’ [lyrics] Your bankroll is your poke.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 62: ‘I’ve got poke’ [...] He pulled out a thin fan of newish fivers, about sixty or seventy quid.

6. (US Und.) a variety of confidence trick.

[US]D. Maurer Big Con 303: The poke. 1. A method of tying up the mark for the pay-off or the rag. The outsideman and the mark find a pocket-book containing a large amount of money, a code-cipher, newspaper clippings describing the owner’s phenomenal success in either gambling or races or in stock-market investment, and race tickets or stock receipts.

In compounds

poke-getter (n.)

(UK/US Und.) a pickpocket.

Sporting Times (London) 15 Feb. 3/1: ‘I said a poke-getter as plain as I could patter’.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 8: My ability to successfully cope with a fan-tan den in Doyer Street, or pinch a poke-getter at the Ferry.
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) I vi: No one yet had ever questioned the Wowzer’s claim to [...] being the most dexterous and finished ‘poke getter’ in the United States!
[US]F. Packard White Moll 131: Crooks, pokegetters, shillabers and lags.
sucker poke (n.)

(US und.) a wallet kept in the easily accessible hip pocket (rather than in the harder to pickpocket inner one).

Jackson Dly News (MS) 1 Apr. 7/3: Crook Chatter [...] ‘When one considers the ridiculous ease with which a wallet in a man’s hip pocket can be stolen, it is quite appropriate to dub it a “sucker poke”’.
poke-lifter (n.) (also poke-picker)

(UK Und.) a pickpocket.

[UK]X. Petulengro Romany Life 247: The light-fingered gentry with the mackintoshes, over one arm, who gently taps your pocket and marks you with a chalk [...] to indicate to his friend the tea-leaf or poke-lifter, the true pickpocket, where the money lies.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Good Luck is No Good’ in Federal Agent Nov. [Internet] The mugg wasn’t in his class. [...] Probably a pokepicker or some small-time bumolo like that.
poke-out (n.)

1. food given to a tramp who begs at the door.

[US]J. London ‘The Road’ in Hendricks & Shepherd Jack London Reports (1970) 311–21: When at a back door, eatables are given them wrapped in paper, they call it a ‘poke-out’ or ‘hand-out.’.
[US]J. London Road 1: I could ‘throw my feet’ with the next one when it came to ‘slamming the gate’ for a ‘poke-out’.
[US]‘A-No. 1’ Snare of the Road 45: Did you think me capable of scoffing a poke-out you have bummed from someone else?
[US]G.H. Mullin Adventures of a Scholar Tramp 14: Her parcel is known in Hoboland as [...] a ‘poke-out’.
[US](con. 1890) G. Milburn ‘A Convention Song’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 27: Now here I am in Omaha, / A hungry, ring-tailed bum, / Tooting ringers for poke outs, / When what I want is slum. [Ibid.] ‘The Sweet Potato Mountains’ 90: The Sweet Potato Mountains [...] Where poke-outs grow on bushes.
[US](con. 1920s–40s) in J.L. Kornbluh Rebel Voices.

2. (S.Afr. prison) a bag of tobacco or similar smuggled into prison.

[SA]H.C. Bosman Cold Stone Jug (1981) II 48: This convict would again take half the tobacco for himself and pass on the remainder to some other convict, who would also help himself out of the ‘poke’.

3. (US) food cooked outdoors; a gathering to eat such food; a long trek that involves eating outdoors.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 399/2: Poke-out, [...] 2 An outdoor dinner cooked over wood or charcoal; a gathering for the purpose of preparing and eating such a meal; any long hike or camping trip which includes such meals.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

get the poke (v.) [SE poke, a small bag or sack]

(Scot.) to be dismissed from one’s job.

N. Kinnock UK Parliament Commons 28 Nov. [Internet] If there are any pig-in-a-poke policies, the recession policies of the Government are the pig and 768,000 people have got the poke.