Poky, pokey or pokie?


Have you ever wondered which of these spellings is correct? I checked a number of dictionaries and found this answer: While poky and pokey appear to be largely interchangeable, pokie has an entirely different meaning.

When poky (pokey) is used as an adjective and refers to a place, it means small or cramped: The policeman entered the poky room.

When used to describe a person, it means someone who is moving slowly or pottering or concerned with petty matters: He had a poky view of the world until he began to travel.

When used as a noun, poky can also mean a prison, although the Macquarie dictionary says that the usual spelling for this sense of the word would be pokey and not poky: The drunk man spent a night in the pokey.

Pokie, on the other hand, is a noun, a slang word for a poker machine in Australia: The gambler was addicted to playing the pokies.

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