On The Hoke

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Tue May 21 13:33:56 UTC 2002

 >Has anyone heard the phrase "being on the hoke"?

I haven't. I've read a few tramp books recently and I don't recall seeing this.

The construction "on the X" can be formed, meaning approximately "[engaged
in] X-ing", for many verbs "X" (e.g., "on the run" = "running", "on the
stroll" = "strolling", "on the prowl" = "prowling", but "on the walk" no
good because of ambiguity I guess).

So "being on the hoke" can mean "being engaged in hoking" or so. One verb
"hoke" is like "swindle" and I think this is a possibility. Another "hoke"
is a variant of Scots "howk", more or less = "dig" but also used in
"howking [about]" = "hanging around"/"loitering" OR "poking
around"/"rummaging around". I find a very few modern instances of this
"hoke/hoking about" on the Web. Compare "on the bum" = "bumming".

Is there some context?

-- Doug Wilson

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