poky

gentleman1

Member
English, Russian
<< -- Excessive quotation removed. -- >>

"… When a young man in society wants to meet a girl again, he gets his sister to ask her."
Undine stared at her incredulously. "How queer! But they haven't all got sisters, have they? It must be fearfully ---------------------poky ------------------------for the ones that haven't."

<< -- Excessive quotation removed. -- >>


Question: What does "poky" mean here?

Thank you!
Best regards,
Michael Kislov
 
Last edited by a moderator:
  • theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I think "dreary" might be your best equivalent here.

    Where are these lines from, by the way? I have a feeling I've read this novel!
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thanks for the title--I remembered that Undine Spragg was from Wharton shortly after I asked, but couldn't remember which book. I love her novels. Here's the definition of dreary, from the Oxford English Dictionary:4. Dismal, gloomy; repulsively dull or uninteresting. And while I was at it, I looked up "poky": a. Unstimulating, dull; concerned with petty matters or narrow interests; dawdling, slow. So not having sisters meant a young man had no respectable way of getting introduced to girls he was interested in--which would certainly make his life dull and unstimulating!
     

    gentleman1

    Member
    English, Russian
    Thank you! What is the version of your OED? My OED doesn't contain this meaning, it contains:
    1. a. Of a person, or his life or work: Pottering, peddling; taken up with petty matters or narrow interests: = poking ppl.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thank you! What is the version of your OED? My OED doesn't contain this meaning, it contains:
    1. a. Of a person, or his life or work: Pottering, peddling; taken up with petty matters or narrow interests: = poking ppl.
    I'm lucky enough to have access to the complete OED online through my university library's subscription.

    By the way, I should mention that "poky" isn't used that way any more, at least not that I've ever heard. It was a colloquialism in Wharton's era that's now obsolete. I might use "poky" now to describe a room that's too small with not enough light, but that's probably because I've spent too much time reading Victorian novels.:)
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Poky isn't used to mean "dreary" or "dismal" any more, but it can still mean dull. If someone describes a room or a town as "poky," it means it's small and dull. I've never heard it used quite the way Wharton uses it, though.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top