Hey, there! Log in / Register
A Boston hokey is never pokey; that's what it's all about
By adamg on Fri, 12/10/2021 - 10:01am
Boston Public Works posted photos of one of its curb-cleaning hokeys hard at work in Roslindale this morning.
Our District 6 Hokey, Jack, was out bright and early cleaning leaves and litter on Averton St. in #Roslindale. pic.twitter.com/JVqEvyf4Wv
— Boston Public Works (@BostonPWD) December 10, 2021
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!
Etymology of "hokey"?
Anyone have a thought about where "hokey" came from wrt street cleaners? Is this just a Boston thing? I know, I could probably google this but the possible UHUB-iverse response is SO much more intriguing.
Also the Hoky brand name?
Surely related in some way: "Hoky" is the dominant brand of those unpowered carpet sweepers that every commercial establishment seems to have on hand:
There is a lengthy discussion of the language origins at:
Quick summary: It's not just limited to Boston, although Boston seems to be the last place using the term. It seems to be American English; in Britain "hokey pokey" refers to an itinerant ice cream seller -- see the Richard Thompson song of that name.
The Hoky carpet sweeper name may have come from the Japanese word for "broom", since that company was started by Japanese interests.
When I bought a Hoky sweeper decades ago, I recall that the company was headquartered in Lexington. I'm unable to track down who (if anyone) is manufacturing that brand today. At one point it was made by Oreck, the vacuum cleaner people, but it's no longer on their website. Some retailers claim to have it available on their websites, but no trace of a manufacturer website.
I bought a Hoky-type sweeper
I bought a Hoky-type sweeper a 2 or 3 years ago at Norfolk Hardware. I can’t remember who made it but you can still find them.
The dominant brand now
Is Bissell. I have a turquoise one and the quality is about the same as the ones I wielded during my restaurant days.
no one, anywhere, knows
But it does seem specific to Boston/Baltimore
It takes a village to raise a
It takes a village to raise a pile of litter like that.
No Dunks cups?
Lack of Dunks cups is surprising.
But mostly, very big thanks to Jack and DPW.
Let's ask the real question
How hokey is the Boston pokey?
Not a hokey according to
Not a hokey according to Merriam-Webster.
Merriam-Webster is based in Springfield, so maybe not the best judge of Boston English.
This is the first time I've
This is the first time I've ever seen the word hokey used in print without -pokey attached. Rocket J. Squirrel used to say Hokey-smoke!" on TV a lot though.