\ ˈgräk How to pronounce grok (audio) \
grokked; grokking

Definition of grok

transitive verb

: to understand profoundly and intuitively

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

Grok may be the only English word that derives from Martian. Yes, we do mean the language of the planet Mars. No, we're not getting spacey; we've just ventured into the realm of science fiction. "Grok" was introduced in Robert A. Heinlein's 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. The book's main character, Valentine Michael Smith, is a Martian-raised human who comes to earth as an adult, bringing with him words from his native tongue and a unique perspective on the strange, strange ways of earthlings. "Grok" was quickly adopted by the youth culture of America and has since peppered the vernacular of those who grok it, from the hippies of the '60s to the computerniks of the '90s.

Examples of grok in a Sentence

the eternal struggle of the human race to grok its place in the grand scheme of the universe
Recent Examples on the Web The realm of politics pushes Succession’s kids to grok what Tom doesn’t yet grasp: how great BS works. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Succession Kids Finally Master the Art of BS," 7 Oct. 2019 As the site expanded, these labyrinthian settings became increasingly hard to grok, and often made more information public by default, rather than putting true control in the hands of its users. Jessi Hempel, WIRED, "A Short History of Facebook's Privacy Gaffes," 30 Mar. 2018 Without a public process, journalists just haven’t had much to cover—and voters haven’t been able to grok what’s at stake. Jordan Weissmann, Slate Magazine, "How Mitch McConnell weaponized our short attention span.," 21 June 2017 What if these guys simply cannot grok the notion that the POTUS and his advisers are not furtive prodigies? Katy Waldman, Slate Magazine, "Why are so many people convinced that Donald Trump has a master plan?," 10 Feb. 2017 Its rationale is difficult to grok; Afghanistan is not included in President Trump's travel ban, yet Syria, Iran, and Sudan are—and their teams were granted visas. Fortune, "U.S. Denies Afghan Girls Robotics Team—As It Pledges Millions to Empower Women Abroad," 11 July 2017 Now, almost everyone can at least grok the concept of a smart TV. Tim Carmody, WIRED, "Smarter TV: Living Room as Digital Hub From Samsung and Microsoft to Apple and Google," 6 Mar. 2012

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'grok.' 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 grok

1961, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for grok

coined by Robert A. Heinlein †1988 American author

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about grok

Listen to Our Podcast about grok

Statistics for grok

Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Grok.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on grok

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for grok

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with grok

Comments on grok

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


experienced by way of someone else

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
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!