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

Definition of grok

transitive verb

: to understand profoundly and intuitively

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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 goal of this information-gathering effort is to grok the scale and scope of the problem, as well as potential solutions. Megan Molteni, Wired, "A Global Data Effort Probes Whether Covid Causes Diabetes," 7 Oct. 2020 The researchers’ pitch is really about ease of use for policymakers: rather than sifting through piles of scientific studies evaluating esoteric variables, the knobs that dial in this price are pretty easy to grok. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "New carbon price focuses on results you want, not impacts you don’t," 18 Aug. 2020 Sitting in the cockpit, some of the flight controls are easy to grok, even for a person who's never ferried hundreds of passengers through the skies. Rob Verger, Popular Science, "Explore the gauges, levers, and history of a 747′s iconic cockpit," 19 Sep. 2019 Much of smart city infrastructure is invisible; new iconography could help citizens grok what’s at play. Clay Chandler, Fortune, "The new Land Rover Defender is a case study in modernizing classic design," 10 Mar. 2020 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

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.

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First Known Use of grok

1961, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for grok

coined by Robert A. Heinlein †1988 American author

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Grok.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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