What does part

she pokes

of phrase

If she smokes, she pokes

exactly mean?

  • 1
    I encountered a similar saying in my youth: “Women who smoke drink, and women who drink f—k.” Sep 1, 2013 at 1:57

4 Answers 4


The "she pokes" part means "she engages in sexual intercourse of a heterosexual variety". There is an implication of doing so more readily or enthusiastically than may be otherwise expected.

You may wish to consult Urban Dictionary on the topic. But then again you may not.

  • 3
    re: Urban Dictionary. It is arguably not safe for work (NSFW). Mar 24, 2011 at 13:26
  • 6
    If Urban Dictionary is SFW, you might want to consider finding a better job. Jul 6, 2011 at 23:00
  • I think the underlying idea is that a woman who smokes is less likely to care about societal norms. This may seem strange to us in the 21st century, but in the early 20th century, it was considered unusual for a woman to smoke in public (whereas it wasn't at all noteworthy if a man did it). It was unladylike, or, to put it in slightly more modern terms, a sign of a "bad girl". Oct 24, 2021 at 16:57

Women smokers were considered to be more promiscuous - mass culture with the advent of the roaring Twenties, but traveling across the Americas prior to that through literature post Civil War (see Elmer Gantry) - which was really an American version of an idea that had been circulating via French Postcards visually.

She smokes, she will have sex

  • 1
    Freakonomics says this stereotype is statistically valid. Jun 22, 2013 at 3:45

Actually, the phrase should be, "if she smokes, she ALLOWs poking."

If she is "loose" with regard to smoking, she is likely to be "loose" regarding other matters such as sex.

But the original phrase is an abbreviation.

  • 1
    Did you rephrase just to clarify the meaning? Your rephrasing wrecks the rhythm, economy, and humour of the original. You have also added the out-of-date idea that women allow coitus rather than participate in it.
    – Theresa
    Oct 4, 2014 at 21:46
  • @Theresa: Yes, my "rephrasing wrecks the rhythm, economy, and humour of the original [and] added an out-of-date idea." But for me, at least, the value of the greater clarity outweighs all the negatives.
    – Tom Au
    Oct 4, 2014 at 23:41
  • So, if you rephrased it, the OP's phrase is an abbreviation of what? Your after-the-fact elongation?
    – Theresa
    Oct 5, 2014 at 0:37
  • 1
    @Theresa: Men and women both "do it," (and enjoy it), but men have the "elongations." (And women have other means of satisfaction.
    – Tom Au
    Oct 5, 2014 at 0:41
  • The meaning "is amenable to being poked" is implied. Suggesting that the asker alter the idiom for clarity reveals your misunderstanding of the concept of idioms. If it helps you, think of "she pokes" as similar to "wood burns."
    – Eric
    Mar 23, 2016 at 18:32

Basically it means if there is no smoke from your exhaust, there will be no poke from your engine!

  • 1
    Do you believe the other answers are wrong? Can you kindly post a credible source for your answer? Cheers
    – MetaEd
    Jun 22, 2013 at 5:20

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.