\ ˈstrāf How to pronounce strafe (audio) , especially British ˈsträf \
strafed; strafing

Definition of strafe

transitive verb

: to rake (ground troops, an airfield, etc.) with fire at close range and especially with machine-gun fire from low-flying aircraft

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Other Words from strafe

strafe noun
strafer noun

Examples of strafe in a Sentence

The planes strafed the town.
Recent Examples on the Web The movie suggests that the meek will not only inherit the Earth but also will strafe, slice, bomb and hack their way to it, all for the adoration of their wives and once-sullen kids. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, 26 Mar. 2021 The raptors will sometimes strafe ducks on the water, then focus on any that didn't fly off, and that duck usually becomes the eagle's next meal. Val Cunningham Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 23 Feb. 2021 Officials urged residents not to let their guard down as the storm gained strength before landfall and stood to barrage the coast with life-threatening storm surge and strafe the region with dangerous winds. New York Times, 28 Oct. 2020 Parents race to save a boy, who will figure prominently later in the series, as airplanes strafe the streets with gunfire. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, 19 June 2020 The bullets strafed the living room, missing the woman who was in the back of the home. Vincent T. Davis,, 6 Apr. 2020 The morning after the Oscars, as rain (which probably would have been snow a few years ago) strafed New York, bleary-eyed guests filed dutifully into The Shed at Hudson Yards for the Carolina Herrera show. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 11 Feb. 2020 Walker flashed athleticism to improvise and extend plays, scrambled out of the pocket and strafed the Wildcats' defense with intermediate and deep passes. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, 10 Feb. 2020 In one of the war’s most grisly incidents, warplanes strafed a retreating Iraqi column north of Kuwait City, melting man and machine. New York Times, 31 Dec. 2019

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

1915, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for strafe

German Gott strafe England may God punish England, German propaganda slogan during World War I

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Cite this Entry

“Strafe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of strafe

: to attack (something) with machine guns from low-flying airplanes

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for strafe


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