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Re: Piker

Posted by R. Berg on December 05, 2001

In Reply to: Piker posted by Jim on December 05, 2001

: In the midwest, "piker" is slang for a slothful individual, a welcher (more slang), and historically, a representative expatriate of Pike County, Kentucky (or Pike County, Missouri, or Pike County, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Alabama ...). In Australia, "piker" is a common slang word for "someone who holds back", particularly, an individual who doesn't drink heavy. Any insight on the origin and apparent international appeal of "piker"?

The word has an obsolete meaning: "thief" (from "pick" + "-er"). Also used to mean a gambler who speculates; one who does things in a small way; tightwad; quitter, coward (Webster's, 1934).

"Have you ever heard tell of sweet Betsy from Pike? She crossed the wide prairie with her lover Ike . . . " (Traditional folk song).