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pawk +‎ -y



pawky (comparative pawkier, superlative pawkiest)

  1. (Scotland, northern Britain) Shrewd, sly; often also characterised by a sarcastic sense of humour.
    • 1991, Sydney Ross, Nineteenth-Century Attitudes: Men of Science, Springer, page 32,
      Sir Robin Watson-Watt (1892-1973), himself a boffin, nay an archboffin of that glorious hierarchy, speaking of the origin of the word, says: 'It certainly has something to do with an obsolete type of aircraft called the Baffin, something to do with that odd bird the Puffin; I am sure it has nothing to do with that first literary Back Room boy, the claustrophiliac Colonel Boffin.'[Quoted in OED] 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,
      Pawky humour is not then just dry humour. It is always pointed, it has a thrust, it must not merely seem to be serious, it is serious and carries a serious import. 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.