also pokey, 1828, of places, "confined, cramped, shabby," later (1856), of persons, "slow, dull;" from varied senses of poke (v.) + -y (2). Also see poke (n.3), which perhaps influenced it. Related: Pokily; pokiness.
"to push or thrust against, to prod," especially with something long or pointed, c. 1300, puken, poken "to poke, nudge," a word of obscure origin, perhaps from or related to Middle Dutch poken "to poke" (Dutch beuken), or Middle Low German poken "to stick with a knife" (compare German pochen "to knock, rap"), implying a Proto-Germanic root *puk-, perhaps imitative. Related: Poked; poking.
To poke around "search" is from 1809; to poke along "advance lazily; walk at a leisurely pace" is from 1833. The sense evolution there might be via the notion of "grope, search, feel, or push one's way in or as in the dark;" poke meaning "work in a desultory, ineffective way" is attested from 1796, and poking "pottering" is by 1769. To poke fun "tease" is attested by 1811.
When I told her I had drawn the ten thousand dollar prize in the lottery, she said I wanted to poke fun into her, which you see was no such thing. [Boston Review, February 1811, quoting from a humorous pamphlet on the U.S. Bank by "Abimelech Coody, Esq., ladies' shoemaker"]
adjective suffix, "full of or characterized by," from Old English -ig, from Proto-Germanic *-iga- (source also of Dutch, Danish, German -ig, Gothic -egs), from PIE -(i)ko-, adjectival suffix, cognate with elements in Greek -ikos, Latin -icus (see -ic). Originally added to nouns in Old English; used from 13c. with verbs, and by 15c. even with other adjectives (for example crispy).
"an act of poking; a thrust or push, especially with something long or pointed," 1796, originally pugilistic slang, from poke (v.). Also (1809) the name of a device, a sort of collar or ox-bow with a short, projecting pole, fitted to domestic animals such as cows, pigs, and sheep to keep them from jumping fences and escaping enclosures. Hence slowpoke. Slang sense "act of sexual intercourse" is attested from 1902.