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[pohk] /poʊk/
a projecting brim at the front of a bonnet, framing the face.
Also called poke bonnet. a bonnet or hat with such a brim.
Origin of poke3
1760-70; apparently special use of poke1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for poke-bonnet
Historical Examples
  • I vainly tried to obtain a glimpse of the woman's countenance, so shrouded by her poke-bonnet and thick veil.

  • As the poke-bonnet became once more elevated, both it and the wearer presented a wofully dilapidated appearance.

    Under the Southern Cross Maturin M. Ballou
  • The hump-backed little figure with poke-bonnet and cane was chased out upon the broken landing.

  • She was a wonderfully comely lass, despite her loose cotton gown and poke-bonnet and the shoepacks on her feet.

    The Crossing Winston Churchill
  • As she pushed her poke-bonnet back from her ears her unkempt brown hair fell about her neck.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • It was broiling hot by this time, and he was thoughtful enough to construct a poke-bonnet for her, utilizing a huge palm leaf.

    Nedra George Barr McCutcheon
  • The poke-bonnet awning acts as a wind-drag that no amount of hard pulling can overcome.

    The Other Fellow F. Hopkinson Smith
British Dictionary definitions for poke-bonnet


(transitive) to jab or prod, as with the elbow, the finger, a stick, etc
(transitive) to make (a hole, opening, etc) by or as by poking
when intr, often foll by at. to thrust (at)
(transitive) (informal) to hit with the fist; punch
usually foll by in, out, out of, through, etc. to protrude or cause to protrude: don't poke your arm out of the window
(transitive) to stir (a fire, pot, etc) by poking
(intransitive) to meddle or intrude
(intransitive; often foll by about or around) to search or pry
(intransitive) often foll by along. to loiter, potter, dawdle, etc
(transitive) (slang) (of a man) to have sexual intercourse with
poke fun at, to mock or ridicule
poke one's nose into, See nose (sense 17)
a jab or prod
short for slowpoke
(informal) a blow with one's fist; punch
(slang) sexual intercourse
Word Origin
C14: from Low German and Middle Dutch poken to thrust, prod, strike


(dialect) a pocket or bag
a pig in a poke, See pig (sense 9)
Word Origin
C13: from Old Northern French poque, of Germanic origin; related to Old English pocca bag, Old Norse pokipouch, Middle Dutch poke bag; compare poach²


Also called poke bonnet. a woman's bonnet with a brim that projects at the front, popular in the 18th and 19th centuries
the brim itself
Word Origin
C18: from poke1 (in the sense: to thrust out, project)


short for pokeweed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for poke-bonnet



"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for poke-bonnet

poke 1


  1. A cowboy: Each poke pays his own transportation to the Rodeo (1928+)
  2. slowpoke (1940s+)
  3. The sex act; piece of ass (1700+)


  1. To herd cattle (1940s+)
  2. To hit the ball, esp to hit fairly lightly with precise aim: He just poked it into the hole (1880s+ Baseball)
  3. To do the sex act with or to; screw (1868+)

Related Terms

buy a pig in a poke, cowpuncher

poke 2


  1. A wallet, pocket, or purse: with only about $85 in my poke (1859+)
  2. Money; one's bankroll (1926+)

[fr Southern dialect, ''pocket, bag,'' fr Middle English, ultimately fr Old Norman French]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with poke-bonnet
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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