poke borax

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From poke borak or poke borack, probably by substitution of the unfamiliar word, by the law of Hobson-Jobson.

Alternative forms[edit]


poke borax (third-person singular simple present pokes borax, present participle poking borax, simple past and past participle poked borax) or poke the borax (third-person singular simple present pokes the borax, present participle poking the borax, simple past and past participle poked the borax)

  1. (intransitive, Australia, New Zealand, often with "at") To ridicule.
    • 2004, C. K. Stead, Mansfield: A Novel, unnumbered page,
      Maybe the geezer was a major really. Or maybe he was poking borax. That was the trouble with toffs from outside the area – you didn't know where you were with them.
    • 1948, Ruth Park, The Harp in the South, 2009, Penguin, unnumbered page,
      ‘Your mother didn′t have any call to go slinging off about me moey, anyway,’ complained Hughie suddenly, and from thirty years ago steamed up a resentment that had never really gone off the boil. ‘She always did have a tongue in her head that would scare the hair off a coconut.’
      ‘Don′t go poking borax at the dead,’ remonstrated Mumma, then she added softly, ‘It was that nice, too, all black and silky.’
    • 1955, Helen Mary Wilson, Land of My Children, page xiii,
      "Now you′re poking borax at me, Mother! Making me out to be a romancer and historian. Aren′t I a farmer?"
    • 1975, New Zealand House of Representatives, Parliamentary Debates, page 3399,
      Hon. S. J. Faulkner—You see, as long as the people concerned are not political, it is O.K. But members opposite want to poke borax at people who dare to have a different view from that of the Leader of the Opposition.
    • 1991, Maud Cahill, Christine Dann (editors), Changing Our Lives: Women Working in the Women′s Liberation Movement, 1970-1990, Bridget Williams Books, New Zealand, page 74,
      It was an acceptable way of poking borax at unions for being so bloody backward.