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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
dave- he gets his name from the first definition of the word... in particular, the 6th version of the 1st definition in the OED... scroll down... it's marked in red:

poker pou.k, sb.1 [f. poke v.1 + -er1. ]


a. An instrument for poking or stirring a fire, consisting of a stiff metal rod, one end of which is fitted with or formed into a handle.

Jew's poker: see quot. 1899.

1534 in W. H. Turner Select. Rec. Oxford (1880) 126 He..came downe with a poker in his hande.

1714 Addison Spect. No. 608 13 By her good Will she never would suffer the Poker out of her Hand.

1800 Mrs. Hervey Mourtray Fam. I. 70 The men say she is as stiff as a poker; and the women are afraid of her, she is so proud and prudish.

1829 Lytton Disowned xviii, The ancient domestic..came, poker in hand, to his assistance.

1844 Ld. Brougham A. Lunel III. vi. 176 Of a stiffness so perfect that part of his toilette seemed to be swallowing a poker.

1899 R. Whiteing No. 5 John St. xix, A Jew's Poker is a Christian person who attends to Jewish fires on the Sabbath day.

b. fig. (in allusion to its proverbial stiffness): A person with a rigid stiff carriage or manner.

1812 Miss Mitford in L'Estrange Life (1870) I. 184, I dare say our new cousin is just such a poker as Lord Selkirk, with an iron head and an iron heart.

1838 Lady Granville Lett. 14 July, He..would be very handsome if he would not stoop..Liz is a poker in comparison.

2. = poking-stick: see poking vbl. sb. 2. Obs.

1604 Dekker Honest Wh. Wks. 1873 II. 25 Where's my ruffe and poker, you block-head?

1606 Heywood 2nd Pt. If you know not me i. Wks. 1874 I. 258 Now, your Puritans poker is not so huge, but somewhat longer; a long slender poking-sticke is the all in all with your Suffolke Puritane.

3. In various transferred uses.

a. (See quot.)

1823 Crabb Technol. Dict., Poker..or driver, an iron instrument, of various lengths and sizes, used for driving hoops on masts. It has a flat foot at one end, and a round knob at the other.

b. humorous. The staff or rod of office carried by a verger, bedell, etc.

1844 [implied in poker-bearer: see 9].

1905 H. S. Holland Personal Stud. ix. Westcott 130 Under the haughty contempt of the solitary verger [in Peterborough Cathedral], who had been forced to lend the authority of his `poker' to those undignified and newfangled efforts.

c. University slang. One of the university bedells at Oxford and Cambridge, who carry staves or maces (`pokers') before the Vice-Chancellor.

1841 Rime of New-Made Baccalere (Farmer), Heads of Houses in a row, And Deans and College Dons below, With a Poker or two behind.

1867 London Society XII. 347 We attended duly at St. Mary's to see the vice-chancellor, doctors, proctors, `pokers', &c. in their robes of state;

1897 Jowett's Life & Lett; II. viii. 226 There was a great procession, the Chancellor in black and gold, Doctors in scarlet gowns, the Vice-Chancellor with pokers.


red-hot poker, a popular name of species of Tritoma (or Kniphofia), South African liliaceous plants, bearing elongated spikes of scarlet or yellow flowers; called also flame-flower (flame sb. 10).

1884 Miller Plant-n., Red-hot-poker-plant.

1899 Pall Mall G. 11 Oct. 2/2 The clustered sunflowers and `red-hot pokers', most gorgeous of September's old-fashioned blooms.

1902 Cornish Naturalist Thames 179 Scarlet tritomas (red-hot pokers) look splendid among the deep greens of the summer grass.

5. The implement with which poker-work is done; hence, short for poker-work. Also attrib.

1827 Seaham Par. Reg., A drawing in poker, by him, of the Salvator Mundi, after Carlo Dolci.

1854 [see poker-picture in 9].

C. 1900 W. D. Thompson Poker Work 10 The pokers were anything, from a knitting needle to an iron rod 34 in. thick, and were bound with yarn or other material to protect the hands from being burnt, and to enable the worker to obtain a firmer grip of the implement.

C. 1900 W. D. Thompson Poker Work 17 The `Pyro' another development in Poker machines which..does away with the spirit-lamp.

C. 1900 W. D. Thompson Poker Work 24 Poker artists will find it convenient to be in possession of the principal manufacturer's list of Poker materials.

C. 1900 W. D. Thompson Instruct. `Pyro' Poker Machine, Before starting any piece of work it is wise to become familiar with the lighting and working of the poker.


a. A person who pokes; esp. one who pokes or pries into things.

1608 Armin Nest Ninn. (1880) 50 Now our Philosophical Poker pokte on, and poynted to a strange shew.

1741 Richardson Pamela (1824) I. xxxix. 359 Such thoughtful futurity pokers as I am!

b. = f.ucker. slang.

1879-80 Pearl (1970) 214 I've been told by jokers That the ladies they do all agree that he's the prince of pokers.

c. Cricket. A batsman who `pokes' (poke v.1 4 b).

1888 A. G. Steel in Steel & Lyttelton Cricket iii. 143 But to the poker, the man who refuses to do anything but stick his bat in front of the wicket..the high-dropping full-pitch is an excellent ball.

7. Phrase.

by the holy poker. A humorous asseveration, of Irish origin and uncertain meaning.

1804 Mar. Edgeworth Limerick Gloves ii, `By the holy poker', said he to himself, `the old fellow now is out there'.

1828 Lancet 23 Feb. 773/2 He swears by the `holy poker' and `St. Patrick', that he will never again go to St. Bartholomew's.

1890 R. Boldrewood Col. Reformer (1891) 134 By the holy poker, sir,'ve just hit it there.


8. = poke sb.3 2. rare.

1805 T. B. Hazard Nailer Tom's Diary (1930) 260/2 Put Poker on one of my oxen.


9. attrib. and Comb., as





-straight adjs.; poker back,

a. a perfectly straight back;

b. Path. (see quot. 1973); poker-bearer, a mace-bearer, a University bedell; poker-drawing, poker-painting = poker-work; poker-picture, a picture made by poker-work; poker spine Path. = poker back (b) above; poker-style, the style of poker-work. (See also sense 5.)

1890 Scots Observer 25 Jan. 267/2 Mannerisms noticed thirty years ago on St. Andrews Links..Alexander Hill's tip-toe eccentricities, and Mill's *poker-arm, imbecile, pushing motion!

1931 M. Allingham Look to Lady xxvi. 276 A single slim aristocratic figure, with the unmistakable *poker back of the old regime.

1960 H. Edwards Spirit Healing x. 87 The healing of certain troubles, as with poker-back spines.

1973 Taylor & Cotton Short Textbk. Surg. (ed. 2) xl. 539 [In ankylosing spondylitis] the normal spine curvatures become replaced by a single kyphosis, occasionally so acutely angled that the patient's back becomes horizontal (poker back).

1885 Fortnight in Waggonette 6 To assume his usual *poker-backed style of seat.

1898 Pall Mall G. 9 Mar. 2/2 The journal..assumes its most poker-backed `we-told-you-so' attitude.

1844 J. T. Hewlett Parsons & W; ix, From vice-chancellor down to vice-chancellor's *poker-bearer.

1895 Westm. Gaz. 13 Aug. 3/3 `Black Rod',..carrying a three-cornered hat in one hand, and a short gilt-headed *poker-like stick gracefully poised in the other.

1895 Clara H. Stevens in Proc. 14th Conv. Amer. Instr. Deaf 365 The art of *poker-painting has had more attention in England than elsewhere.

1854 Fairholt Dict. Terms Arts, *Poker-pictures, imitations of pictures or rather of bister-washed drawings executed by singeing the surface of white wood with a heated poker, such as used in Italian irons.

1917 Brit. Med. Jrnl. 30 June 860/1 Dr. John Drummond (Liverpool) asks for suggestions as to treatment in a case of *poker spine in a man 30 years of age... The back is now immobile.

1960 S. Plath Colossus (1967) 27 Rigged *poker-stiff on her back.

1962 K. Orvis Damned & Destroyed xi. 77 Frankie's back was poker-stiff.

1966 J. S. Cox Illustr. Dict. Hairdressing 119/1 *Poker straight, without a vestige of curl.

1979 N. Freeling Widow ii. 3 The hair was poker-straight.

1887 Morris in Mackail Life (1899) II. 183 Some decoration that she was doing in the *poker-style, burning the pattern in.

1,244 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
edisonbird said:
Yo robmcd, you have waaaaaaaaay to much time on your hands.:r
:r did that with my left hand while i was beatin off with my right hand, smokin a cigar with my left foot and sending a fax with my right foot. i'm very good at multitasking. :D

3,075 Posts
:r :r :r



77 Posts
:r OMG, and this guy's supposedly an educator...:rolleyes:
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