poke [intransitive, transitive] to quickly push your finger or some other pointed object into something or someone

poke somebody/something with something

Andy poked the fish with his finger to see if it was still alive.

poke somebody in the eye/arm/ribs etc

Be careful with that umbrella or you’ll poke someone in the eye.

poke at

He was poking at the dust with a stick, making little patterns.

Let's say, there is a stick emerges from a ground & a kid is playing near there as showed in this picture.

enter image description here

Could we say "Watch out for the stick! it (the stick) may poke into your eyes"?

However, according to the above definition, the verb "poke" can only be used if a person pokes the stick into someone's eyes. The stick can not poke by itself.


According to this definition poke someone in something we can easily say:

  • Watch out for that stick. It may poke you in the eye.

And it will be grammatically correct.

But in my opinion that sounds weird since I seem to see the stick as a living being.

I would say it like:

  • Watch out for that stick. You may get poked in the eye on it by accident. (especially if you fall and hit it) - This is if you aren't wielding it.


  • Watch out for that stick. Try not to get a poke in the eye (poke your eye out) with (or maybe using) it - This is if you are wielding it.
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  • So to say, why use the verb "poke" anyway? There are much better options. – SovereignSun Feb 13 at 8:47
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    It is perfectly normal to use verbs like poke, prick, etc, in the way the questioner asks. A protruding thing may poke you in the eye; a sharp thing may prick your finger, water may soak you, ink may blacken your fingers. – Michael Harvey Feb 13 at 9:11
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    That is your subjective judgement. – Michael Harvey Feb 13 at 9:27
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    OP's sentences, slightly changed, are normal and OK: ""Watch out for the stick! It could poke you in the eye". – Michael Harvey Feb 13 at 9:30
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    I’m afraid your answer contains grammatical errors and I don't perceive it as useful in any way. In the English language a person can actively poke you in the eye OR a stick, or some other inanimate object, can passively poke you in the eye (as you walk past a tree or something). Both are correct uses of the verb. Nothing “weird” here at all. – Orbital Aussie Feb 13 at 11:15

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