Word of the Day


Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


a bloke or man

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

Oke is a shortening or clipping of ‘okie’, which is a version of ‘outjie’, an Afrikaans word meaning boy or young man, first recorded as  being used in English in the 1960s. The first recorded use of oke dates from 1970.


People sometimes submit nonsense words to the Open Dictionary and when I first saw the submission for oke I thought it was one of these. But I was wrong. Oke might look like a typo but it’s a real word in South African English and it means ‘bloke’; so an equivalent for one meaning of ‘guy‘, which we looked at earlier this week. Like ‘guy’, oke can be used to refer to people generally, not just to men. The entry, including the example ‘So many okes in South Africa love rugby’, was submitted shortly before the Springboks‘ stunning victory in the men’s rugby World Cup, making it very timely indeed. If you want to explore South African English further you can find out more here. And please do continue submitting entries to the Open Dictionary; no nonsense words though, please, and nothing that you’ve made up yourself.


“Glad to see both you okes are safe back home!”
(enTenTen15 corpus)

“As two okes from the West Rand, we’re living proof that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”
(enTenTen15 corpus)

Related words

chap, dude, fella, guy

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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