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Alternative forms[edit]


1891, meaning "poorhouse", possibly from British hobo slang. 1954 assistance.



pogey (usually uncountable, plural pogeys)

  1. (chiefly historical, countable) A poorhouse, workhouse, welfare office, charity hostel, etc.
  2. (Canada, slang, uncountable, often with the) Government financial assistance, particularly employment insurance.
    • 1984, Michiel Horn, The Great Depression of the 1930s in Canada (Canadian Historical Booklet no. 39), Canadian Historical Association, p 10:
      There were no jobs for the unemployed, however. And thus many hundreds of thousands went “on the pogey,” although all available evidence indicates that they loathed doing so. To accept relief was an admission of defeat and failure, a humiliating stigma, whether the relief was indirect or direct.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often used in the expression on the pogey or on pogey.