Definitions

pocket flask

Pocket

[pok-it]

A pocket is a small bag to hold small and important items, particularly a bag-like receptacle either fastened to or inserted in an article of clothing.

In European clothing pockets began by being hung like purses from a belt, which could be concealed beneath a coat or jerkin and reached through a slit in the outer garment. The word appears in Middle English as poket, and is taken from a Norman diminutive of Old French poke, pouque, modern poche, cf. pouch. The form "poke" is now only used dialectically, or in such proverbial sayings as "a pig in a poke," and possibly in the poke-bonnet, the coal-scuttle bonnet fashionable during the first part of the 19th century, and now worn by the female members of the Salvation Army. More probably the name of the bonnet is connected with poke, to thrust forward, dig. The origin of this is obscure. Dutch has poken, pook, a dagger; Swedish has påk, a stick.

Historically, the term pocket referred to:

  • A pouch worn around the waist by women in the 17th to 19th centuries, mentioned in the rhyme Lucy Locket if interpreted literally.
  • A sack in which hops were stored, generally with a capacity of 168–224 lb (76–102 kg).

A fob pocket is a small pocket designed to hold an old style pocket watch, sometimes found in men's trousers and waistcoats.

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