On The Hoke

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Tue May 21 15:40:14 UTC 2002

Thanks. That's what I guessed it meant, but I wanted to check if anyone had
anything more authoritative.

I don't have the phrase in context (which is part of the problem). I found
it in an old issue of American Speech, which in turn had culled it from a
1953 newspaper article. I suspect it may be a very local or one-off usage.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society
> [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> Of Douglas G. Wilson
> Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2002 6:34 AM
> Subject: Re: On The Hoke
>  >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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