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

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

The planes strafed the town.
Recent Examples on the Web Yet the interior lights up like a raving party with umpteen tones of ambient LEDs in dazzling patterns while the Sky Lounge feature’s multicolor beams that strafe through the glass overhead. Ronald Ahrens, Robb Report, 28 Dec. 2022 Many a pilot flew out in the predawn darkness to strafe and rocket enemy troops all day across the burning hills of Korea, then returned to play cards with his wife at night. Jeremy Hsu, Discover Magazine, 5 Jan. 2015 Apache attack helicopters strafe militant positions. Washington Post, 22 Jan. 2022 Among the best of these is a raid on a Chinese troop train by American aircraft and a heart-stopping sequence in which U.S. pilots strafe a screed field, unaware that Chinese soldiers are playing dead below. Richard Kuipers, Variety, 27 Dec. 2021 Then strut out down the center of a city street as spotlights strafe the sky. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, 3 Nov. 2021 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 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1915, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of strafe was in 1915

Dictionary Entries Near strafe

Cite this Entry

“Strafe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


strafed; strafing
: to fire on at close range and especially with machine guns from low-flying airplanes
strafed the village
strafer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on strafe

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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