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

Examples of strafe in a Sentence

The planes strafed the town.
Recent Examples on the Web In December, while the Panay was carrying out the evacuation of Americans from China, Japanese planes bombed and strafed the boat. Richard Goldstein, New York Times, 8 June 2024 People were trapped in the open, incinerated, asphyxiated and strafed with machine-gun fire. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2024 Japanese planes bombed the ship transporting her and strafed the lifeboats. Michael Washburn, National Review, 31 Dec. 2023 Limay and Mantes-la-Jolie became frequent targets of German aerial strafing attacks; at one point a cat Henri was holding was struck, though he was left unharmed. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, 6 Oct. 2023 Taylor and his wingman began strafing the surrounding enemies with rockets and mini-gun fire, keeping up their attack runs for 35 minutes. Matt Seyler, ABC News, 1 Sep. 2023 July 4 was Earth’s hottest day on record as a heat dome smothered parts of Texas and conditions from El Niño, the infamous climate pattern that provokes stifling heat and harsh rains, began to strafe the West Coast. Jacob Bogage and Eli Tan, Anchorage Daily News, 15 July 2023 In the South, national monuments burned and strafed during the Korean War were rebuilt with precision and fidelity as symbols of national pride. Lauretta Charlton, New York Times, 22 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'strafe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 23 Jun. 2024.

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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