first strike


Definition of first strike 

: a preemptive nuclear attack

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from first strike

first-strike \ˈfərs(t)-ˈstrīk \ adjective

Examples of first strike in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Council of Professional Associations had organized a first strike a week ago, providing the spark for nightly street protests that eventually forced Jordan's prime minister to resign. Fox News, "Some Jordan unions go on warning strike to protest tax hikes," 6 June 2018 Moon's efforts to avert a potentially catastrophic U.S. first strike pushed Trump and Kim to take a risk. Zeke Miller And Catherine Lucey,, "Unorthodox Trump faces toughest test yet in North Korea summit," 10 June 2018 The South Korean leader's efforts to avert a potentially catastrophic U.S. first strike pushed both leaders to take a risk. Fox News, "Unorthodox Trump faces toughest test yet in summit with Kim," 10 June 2018 These vessels would survive a first strike and retaliate, which is meant to prevent an enemy from ever using its weapons. Dimitrios Mitsopoulos, Popular Mechanics, "All the Nuclear Missile Submarines in the World in One Chart," 8 June 2018 Despite that, Wu said China remained firm in its defensive military posture, including a policy of never launching a nuclear first strike against an opponent. Fox News, "China says advanced DF-26 missile deployed but," 26 Apr. 2018 The Pentagon says the warheads would deter Russia from using its own similar weapons in a first strike and therefore would make nuclear war less likely. Michael Collins And Nicole Gaudiano, USA TODAY, "House passes defense bill authorizing pay raise for troops, new jets and President Trump's military parade," 24 May 2018 Monday's thunderous second bombing came after a crowd had already gathered near the scene of the first strike. Laura King,, "Work of slain Afghan journalists provided intimate, wrenching look at country's long conflict," 30 Apr. 2018 During the Cold War, the US and Soviet Union faced a number of situations — most notably the 1962 Cuban missile crisis — where one side had reason to believe the other was preparing for a nuclear first strike. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The real reason Trump’s North Korea summit failed," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'first strike.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of first strike

1956, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about first strike

Share first strike

Statistics for first strike

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for first strike

The first known use of first strike was in 1956

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for first strike

first strike


English Language Learners Definition of first strike

: a nuclear attack against an enemy before the enemy can attack

More from Merriam-Webster on first strike

See words that rhyme with first strike

Comments on first strike

What made you want to look up first strike? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!