Thursday, March 12, 2009

Medieval English: A Poke - For the Pig or Ice Cream?

When you love medieval castles as much as we do, you get distracted into all manner of side issues - from medieval life to medieval music, medieval poetry and lots more. One of the most interesting aspects of medieval history is perhaps that of medieval English. Take one look at our medieval glossary and you will see a wide variety of words - some familiar and still in use today and others that have long since died away in popularity.

Here's a word, not currently in our glossary to be honest, whose use appears to date back to medieval Britain - the word: poke. Now many of us have heard the expression 'a pig in a poke' but what does it really mean? Well, I had never stopped to think about this until I read a great little post on an ice cream blog yesterday entitled: Ice Cream Poke & Ice Cream Slider.

How can a pig and an ice cream both share a poke?! What does it all mean?!

Well, as that little ice cream blog post explains, a poke is a bag or sack. OK so that makes the expression 'a pig in a poke' somewhat self-explanatory but ice cream ....? Well an ice cream poke is a favored expression in Ireland for an ice cream cone. So I learned something there. However, what I perhaps enjoyed learning the most is the fact that the word poke dates back to medieval times. It must go into the glossary at the next update!

Labels: , ,