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From pawk +‎ -y.



pawky (comparative pawkier, superlative pawkiest)

  1. (Scotland, northern Britain) Shrewd, sly; often also characterised by a sarcastic sense of humour. [from 17th c.]
    • 1789, John Moore, Zeluco, Valancourt 2008, p. 161:
      [H]e generally meets her at one Signora Sporza's, a very pawky gentlewoman, who understands what's what as well as any woman in Naples [] .
    • 1836, Joanna Baillie, Witchcraft, Act 1, p.36-37.
      'Awa', ye pawky thief! Dost tu think that I'll herrie the laird's cellar for thee or ony body?—But there's the whisky bottle in my ain cupboard, wi' some driblets in it yet, that ye may tak; and deil a drap mair shall ye get, an thy tongue were as guizened as a spelding. I wonder wha learnt sic a youngster as thee to be sae pawky.
    • 1991, Sydney Ross, Nineteenth-Century Attitudes: Men of Science, Springer, page 32,
      Those unacquainted with the pawky humor of the Scot will search unsuccessfully in reference books for mention of the elusive Colonel Boffin.
    • 2010, J. A. Hadfield, Why Do We Laugh,, page 202,
      Just as a pun, to be a good pun, has to be not only a play on words but have a serious meaning, so pawky humour must carry sense. However the underlying humour is always there.