first strike


: a preemptive nuclear attack
first-strike adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps Moscow feared the U.S.’s limited defenses gave it a buffer to absorb the possibly smaller-scale retaliatory strike Russia might muster after being hit by an effective U.S. first strike. Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 27 Feb. 2023 Then, a missile hit in the courtyard behind the building, followed by another missile in the vicinity of the first strike. Jeremy Barr, Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2023 According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, this marked the first strike in the union's two-decade history. CBS News, 9 Feb. 2023 The home opener arrived a bit behind schedule that year — Apr. 21 to be precise — due to the first strike in Major League Baseball history. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, 6 Apr. 2022 But while there were nursing strikes in the 1970s, the Royal College of Nursing, the union that represents most nurses in England, held the first strike action in its 116-year history Dec. 15 and 20. Patrick Smith, NBC News, 18 Jan. 2023 Poseidon is not a first strike weapon that will destroy U.S. cities out of the blue. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 17 Jan. 2023 But the company failed to first strike a deal with the film’s star, Scarlett Johansson, whose compensation was tied to a series of box office bonuses. Matt Donnelly, Variety, 20 Nov. 2022 More than a million people protested during the first strike organized last month, disrupting schools, factories and transport across the country. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, 11 Feb. 2023 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1956, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of first strike was in 1956

Dictionary Entries Near first strike

Cite this Entry

“First strike.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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