Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
Hi native speakers,

Our dictionary gives the following definition for "poky":

without speed or energy; slow
Suppose there's a new cashier at a grocery store who is very slow at scanning and bagging. She frequently overcharges customers and takes forever to correct. Since she's one of the two cashiers available, her slow service always results in a very long line of impatient customers.

Can I say she is a poky cashier? Would "poky" work with a person who was very slow in performing his task?
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo RG.

    Wow, never heard of it.

    If you said it to me, I wouldn't have a clue what you were talking about. Pok(e)y only has meaning ¹ for me.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I've never seen it used that way. It means small in terms of a room to me.

    When my dad describes a car with good performance he says it "has a lot of poke," which is the opposite of this definition of poky you have found. I'd avoid it.


    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hong Kong
    Thank you. I can't recall exactly where I came across this use but I guess it comes from a book written by an American.
    Since I'm usually on the safe side when it comes to language, I think I'd better let this use languish in obscurity if it could easily lead to confusion.


    English - England
    Pokey has two meanings:

    As per suzi br: "powerful. e,g, "Back in the 70's I had a Mini Cooper S, a real pokey machine: 0-60mph in 8 seconds!"
    Of a room or space = uncomfortably small, "I paid £60 for the hotel room and when I got there, the room was really pokey - the bed touched three walls and the wardrobe stopped the door from opening fully."
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