Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 873 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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POCKET, a small bag, particularly a bag-like receptacle either fastened to or inserted in an article of clothing. As a measure of capacity " pocket" is now only used for hops; it equals 168 lb. The word appears in Mid. Eng. as poket, and is taken from a Norman diminutive of O. Fr. poke, pouque, mod. poche, cf. " pouch." The form " poke " is now only used dialectically, or in such proverbial sayings as a " pig in a poke," and possibly in the " poke-bonnet," the coal-scuttle bonnet fashionable during the first part of the 19th century, and now worn by the female members of the Salvation Army; more probably the name of the bonnet is connected with " poke," to thrust forward, dig. The origin of this is obscure. Dutch has poken, gook, a dagger; Swedish pdk, a stick. POCKET-GOPHER (i.e. pouched rat), the name of a group of, chiefly North, American rat-like rodents, characterized by the possession of large cheek-pouches, the openings of which are external to the mouth; while their inner surface is lined with fur. The cheek-teeth, which comprise two pairs of premolars and three of molars in each jaw, are in the form of simple prisms of enamel, which do not develop roots. The fore and hind limbs are of approximately equal length, but the second and third front-claws are greatly enlarged, and all the claws are furnished at the base with bristles. The eyes are small, and the external ears rudimentary. Pocket-gophers, which typify a family, the Geomyidae, spend the whole of their time underground, and are specially organized for such a mode of existence, their powerful claws being adapted for digging, while the bristles on the toes prevent the earth from passing between them. The upper incisor teeth are employed to loosen the ground, like a fork; and the little rodents are able to move both backwards and forwards in their runs. The cheek-pouches are employed solely in carrying food, which consists largely of roots. In the typical genus Geomys the upper incisors are grooved, but in the allied Thomomys they are smooth. The common pocket-gopher, Geomys bursarius, of the Mississippi Valley measures about 8 in. in length, with a tail of between 2 and 3 in.; its colour being rufous brown and greyish beneath. A well-known representative of the second genus is Thomomys talpoides, which is considerably smaller than the former. To the farmer and the gardener pocket-gophers are an unmitigated source of annoyance. (See RODENTIA.) POCKET-MOUSE, the name of a number of small jerboa-like, chiefly North, American rodents belonging to the family Geemyidae, and constituting the genus Perognathus and Heteromys. They are nearly allied to the American kangaroo-rats (see KANGAROO-RAT), but differ in having rooted molar teeth. The typical pocket-mouse P. fasciatus, which is a native of Montana, Missouri, and Wyoming, is a sandy-coloured rodent marked with black lines above and with white beneath, and measuring about 6 in. in length, this length being equally divided between the head and body and the tail. (See RODENTIA.)
End of Article: POCKET

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