What word or phrase does your mother always say?
"to push, prod, thrust," especially with something pointed, c.1300, puken "to poke, nudge," of uncertain origin, perhaps from or related to Middle Dutch poken "to poke" (Dutch beuken), or Middle Low German poken "to stick with a knife" (cf. German pochen "to knock, rap"), both from Proto-Germanic root *puk-, perhaps imitative. Related: Poked; poking. To poke fun "tease" first attested 1840; to poke around "search" is from 1809. To poke along "advance lazily; walk at a leisurely pace" is from 1833.
"small sack," early 13c., probably from Old North French poque (12c., Old French poche) "purse, poke, purse-net," probably from a Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *puk- (cf. Old English pohha, pocca "bag, pocket," Middle Dutch poke, Old Norse poki "bag, pouch, pocket," dialectal German Pfoch), from PIE root *beu-, an imitative root associated with words for "to swell" (see bull (n.2)).
"pokeweed; a weed used in medicine and dyeing," colonial American, from native words, possibly a confusion of similar-sounding Native American plant names; from 1630s in English as "tobacco plant," short for uppowoc (1580s), from Algonquian (Virginia) *uppowoc. Later (1708) the word is used in the sense "pokeweed," as a shortened form of puccoon, from Algonquian (Virginia) *puccoon, name of a plant used for dyeing." Native roots for "smoke" and "stain" have been proposed as the origin or origins.
"an act of poking," 1796, originally pugilistic slang, from poke (v.). Also (1809) the name of a device, like a yoke with a pole, attached to domestic animals such as pigs and sheep to keep them from escaping enclosures. Hence slowpoke, and cf. pokey. Slang sense "act of sexual intercourse" is attested from 1902.
To examine or search, esp in a dilatory way: He might know we've been poking around the computer files
[1809+; the dated instance reads poke about]
[fr Southern dialect, ''pocket, bag,'' fr Middle English, ultimately fr Old Norman French]