Why is a paper bag called a poke?

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asked Dec 30, 2020 in Words & Wordplay by wilsoniato (570 points)
Why is a paper bag called a poke?

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answered Dec 30, 2020 by SandSam (7,630 points)
The reason a paper bag is called a poke is because in WW2 Scotland they got ‘chips’ (french fries) from the fish and chip shop in a wee poke, which was a piece of newspaper rolled into a cone.

Newspaper soaked up the grease wonderfully and they used the same thing when they ate a stalk of rhubarb they dipped into sugar. (their cheeks still touched inside of their mouths from the sour rhubarb).

The sugar was held in a wee poke.

The saying or expression pig in a poke originated in the 1500's when a sack was named a poke.

In the 1500's piglets were sold in sacks which were called "pokes" sight unseen so that is where the saying buying a pig in a poke came from.

A poke in the 1500's was a sack, and merchants would sell piglets in pokes, often sight unseen and sometimes they would get a bad piglet or a runt etc.

So if you buy something sight unseen then you're buying a pig in a poke.

It's not always a good idea to buy a pig in a poke or something sight unseen.

It's best to actually see what you're buying before paying for it especially if it's something used.

However we do really buy pigs in pokes when we buy things online because we don't really see the stuff we're buying online until we get it a few days later.

But most times the stuff we buy online turns out just fine.
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answered Oct 5, 2023 by Abulaycan (860 points)
edited Oct 8, 2023 by Abulaycan

Well, it's got a bit of a historical twist to it. Back in the day, especially in the Southern parts, folks used to refer to bags as "pokes".  So when you say "paper poke"  you're basically just saying "paper bag" in old-school lingo. Personally, I'm a big fan of using them when I go grocery shopping. They just have that classic, eco-friendly vibe that I dig. And guess what? If you're all about paper bags, too, you might want to check out these simple grocery paper bags. They're the real deal and come in handy for all your shopping needs. You can find them over at interplas.com.

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