Definition of pocket in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɒkɪt/


1A small bag sewn into or on clothing so as to form part of it, used for carrying small articles: she fished for her door key in her coat pocket
More example sentences
  • I turned around to see someone standing there with his hands in his pants pockets, smiling.
  • It has two zippered side-entry pockets and high-quality ribbing at the waist and cuffs.
  • Sadly this happened to us recently after my smart smart brother left a biro in his shirt pocket.
1.1A pouch-like compartment providing separate storage space, for example in a suitcase or car door: the pack has two main compartments and four pockets
More example sentences
  • There are storage pockets in all four doors, which is always appreciated.
  • The process also allows for part integration, like storage bins, map pockets and cup holders built into door panels.
  • There are plenty more stowage points dotted around the car, including glove box, front door pockets, cup and bottle holders, and a special slide out shelf beneath the front seats.
compartment, pouch, receptacle, sack, cavity
1.2South African A narrow sack in which agricultural produce is sold, used as a measure for trading: consumers are paying the same for 10 kg pockets of potatoes as they paid for 15 kg pockets last year
1.3 Billiards & Snooker An opening at the corner or on the side of the table into which balls are struck.
Example sentences
  • Wisely selecting the six ball for the side pocket, you carefully position the cue ball.
  • I leaned over the table, aiming to bounce the white ball off of a side to knock a blue ball into the corner pocket.
  • The pool hall was full of seedy characters as Sabrina sunk a red ball into the corner pocket, slamming two more in on rebound.
1.4 informal A person’s financial resources: the food was all priced to suit the hard-up airman’s pocket
More example sentences
  • Kind-hearted readers have dug deep into their own pockets to replace the money stolen from a collection tin destined for our Cancer Appeal.
  • A wide variety of hotels are available to suit all pockets.
  • Like any parent whose pockets are empty, I turned a deaf ear.
means, budget, resources, financial resources, finances, funds, money, capital, assets, wherewithal;
North American  pocketbook
2A small patch of something: some of the gardens still had pockets of dirty snow in them
More example sentences
  • A month or so ago I called at Browns Nursery in Wigginton to buy a few primulas to give the garden pockets of bright colour.
  • The temperature plummeted; large slabs of permanent ice replaced occasional pockets of snow.
  • Then Bob took over, planting colorful flowers in poolside pockets and on the terraced hillside.
2.1A small, isolated group or area: there were pockets of disaffection in parts of the country
More example sentences
  • It is calling for a new approach to nature conservation, focusing on whole landscapes rather than isolated pockets.
  • Famine is biting deep in isolated pockets all over the country.
  • There are coalitions, but they're in separate pockets around the country, it is not a national coalition.
2.2A cavity in a rock or stratum filled with ore or other material.
Example sentences
  • This suggests that the mantle convects as a whole, although the geochemists now require an explanation for the existence of pockets of unmixed mantle material.
  • Many of the large pillow pockets are filled with powdery white thaumasite that has the consistency of freshly fallen snow.
  • Some of the material from the junction pockets was clear enough to produce fine gemstones.


1Of a suitable size for carrying in a pocket: a pocket German dictionary
More example sentences
  • A spokeswoman also said that in 100 years, the pocket dictionary had almost doubled in size, reflecting the expansion in the language.
  • And if you really want to get philosophical, bring a pocket dictionary.
  • A little French is indispensable, even if it's just from pocket dictionaries and phrase books.
1.1On a small scale: a 6,000 acre pocket paradise
More example sentences
  • The great leap forward in pocket auto design came in the mid-1990s.
  • Although Lees-Milne relished writing in Beckford's library, his wife was miserable with only a pocket garden.
  • The film is based on the British Navy's triumph over a German pocket battleship, the Graf Spee, in the early months of the second world war.
small, little, miniature, mini, compact, fun-size, concise, abridged, potted, portable;
North American  vest-pocket
informal pint-sized

verb (pockets, pocketing, pocketed)

[with object]
1Put into one’s pocket: she watched him lock up and pocket the key
More example sentences
  • He locked the doors, pocketed his keys, and walked to me.
  • As I pocketed the bill, still sensing their hostility, I readied my escape plan.
  • After a moment of hesitation, Joe shrugged and pocketed the money.
steal, take for oneself, help oneself to, appropriate, misappropriate, thieve, purloin, embezzle, expropriate
informal filch, swipe, snaffle, lift, rip off, skim
British informal pinch, nick, half-inch, whip, nobble
rare peculate, defalcate
1.1Take or receive (money or other valuables) for oneself, especially dishonestly: local politicians were found to have been pocketing the proceeds of fund-raisers
More example sentences
  • Some borrowed money was pocketed by corrupt officials.
  • ‘They pocketed the bribe money without ever delivering the quid pro quo,’ he said.
  • We have also had stories of lawyers pocketing money entrusted to them by clients and others allegedly being involved in corruption.
1.2 Billiards & Snooker Drive (a ball) into a pocket: he pocketed the 8-ball on the break for a victory in the title game
More example sentences
  • I accepted the challenge to simply pocket the object ball in the side, and stop the cueball dead.
  • After pocketing a red ball, the player may shoot at his choice of colored balls.
  • The main reason not to use sidespin is it increases the difficulty of pocketing the ball.
1.3Enclose as though in a pocket: the fillings can be pocketed in a pitta bread
More example sentences
  • As they rode the fire receded to a faint glow pocketed in the otherwise dark of the desert night.
1.4Suppress (one’s feelings) and proceed despite them: they were prepared to pocket their pride
More example sentences
  • By the next day I had an eye that looked as if it had done ten rounds with Mike Tyson, so it was time I pocketed my pride and visited a doctor!
  • He had not understood why she had acted like that but out of due respect for the girl he decided to pocket his own emotions as well.



in pocket

Having enough money or money to spare; having gained in a transaction: he knows how to stay in pocket and out of trouble
More example sentences
  • If they were to now reimburse those costs they would still be well in pocket.
  • It is, of course, much more sensible to take money from taxpayers and hand it over to mime artists to make sure that they are always in pocket.
  • But now, having pushed through the required changes to keep itself alive, it is the bondholders and creditors who have emerged triumphant and in pocket.
1.1(Of money) gained by someone from a transaction: for every £100 staked a regular better will end up with £88 in pocket
More example sentences
  • Then, money in pocket won't make the difference.
  • Night after night, the money I had in pocket was less than the totaled checks.
  • Finally, the film's conclusion contains a note of hope for the future as Lou and Grace amble together, money in pocket and hand-in-hand.

in someone's pocket

1Dependent on someone financially and therefore under their influence: it was important that the voters should not be seen to be in any man’s pocket
More example sentences
  • The Institute of Justice did its best to prevent the Supreme Court decision to hand over private property to any rich developers who can get a couple of city councilors in their pocket.
  • The head doorman of the night club claimed he was a gangster figure with a police officer ‘in his pocket’ to whom he gave cocaine, a court heard today.
2Very close to and closely involved with someone: I’m tired of villages where everyone lives in everyone else’s pocket
More example sentences
  • So then we had a slight argument, with her saying that I can still spend time on the computer doing all the things that I like doing on it, 'cause she doesn't want to be living in my pocket.
  • And, because the cast are living in each other's pockets doing two shows a day for weeks on end, we become a family.
  • One has to remember that Cambridge is a tiny city and though all these poets don't exactly live in each others pockets we do see each other by accident as much as by design.

out of pocket

Having lost money in a transaction: the organizer of the concert was £3,700 out of pocket after it was cancelled
More example sentences
  • I'm out of pocket again to the tune of about $3,000 and I wished I had listened to some good advice.
  • Unemployed Scott said the difficult decision has left him £200 out of pocket on the planned £1,600 holiday after he lost his deposit.
  • I want to represent my community but why should my family be out of pocket?
(out-of-pocket) [as modifier]3.1 (Of an expense or cost) paid for directly rather than being put on account or charged to some other person or organization.
Example sentences
  • Here's the chart they gave us this year to show the costs of your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Because you're using pretax dollars, the accounts can slash your out-of-pocket costs by a third or more.
  • The costs do not include the out-of-pocket expenses borne by individuals and their families, nor the economic consequences of a reduced quality of life.

pay out of pocket

US Pay for something with one’s own money, rather than from a particular fund or account: they don’t have to worry about paying out of pocket for equipment and supplies
More example sentences
  • The alternative is to save money for a rainy day to pay out of pocket for treatments denied you.
  • The stock-market decline also has cut into people's retirement income and, consequently, their ability to pay out of pocket, Moore said.
  • What's your deductible, how much do you have to pay out of pocket?

put one's hand in one's pocket

Spend or provide one’s own money: the club’s manager has offered to put his hand in his pocket to pay for a player on loan
More example sentences
  • I would urge you to put your hand in your pocket and give some money to this family.
  • He simply became sick of putting his hand in his pocket for a hundred thousand pounds at each board meeting and he said ‘no more’.
  • ‘Each poppy is only $2 and while that's not a lot to give it's surprising how fast it adds up when everyone puts their hand in their pocket,’ he said.



Example sentences
  • The end results are good though and, if you're willing to sacrifice speed for a truly pocketable snapper, take this Pentax model into consideration.
  • The 775 is designed to be small, pocketable and extremely easy to use…
  • The hidden keyboard means that the huge screen is easily accommodated, but it would still be nicer to have a more pocketable device.


Pronunciation: /ˈpɒkɪtfʊl/
noun (plural pocketfuls)
Example sentences
  • Just turn up with pocketfuls of cash and be prepared to be entertained.
  • And what of her wider dreams and aspirations or even her immediate thoughts as she slipped home with her sack of groceries and her pocketful of coins?
  • I desperately tried to hand out the pocketful of coupons as the frenzy grew and the kids ignored the pleas of their teachers to stop crushing me.


Example sentences
  • I can see why holidaymakers need to carry luggage, I know that shoppers have to lug their purchases home and I'll concede that pocketless women need a handbag to keep all their bits in.
  • In this presumably pocketless world, body art served as a wallet, passport, work permit, and business card rolled into one.
  • The dip was oniony and lightly fishy, a perfect complement to the warm pocketless pittas that came alongside it.


Middle English (in the sense 'bag, sack', also used as a measure of quantity): from Anglo-Norman French poket(e), diminutive of poke 'pouch'. The verb dates from the late 16th century Compare with poke2.

  • The first sense recorded for pocket was a ‘bag, sack’. It comes from Anglo-Norman French poket(e), a little poke or pouch ( see pig). This also lies behind poach. Poaching eggs and poaching game may seem vastly different activities, but they are both probably connected with the Old French word pochier or French pocher, ‘to enclose in a bag’. When you poach an egg you can think of the white of the egg as forming a pocket or bag for the yolk to cook in. The second poach first meant ‘to push together in a heap’, and acquired the ‘steal game’ sense in the early 17th century. The connection with the source word comes from the pocket or bag into which a poacher would stuff his ill-gotten gains. Pucker (late 16th century) is probably from the same source, with the little gatherings being seen as small pockets.

Words that rhyme with pocket

brocket, crocket, Crockett, docket, locket, rocket, socket, sprocket

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pocket

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