stroke

1 of 3

verb (1)

stroked; stroking

transitive verb

1
: to rub gently in one direction
also : caress
2
: to flatter or pay attention to in a manner designed to reassure or persuade
stroker noun

stroke

2 of 3

noun

1
: the act of striking
especially : a blow with a weapon or implement
2
: a single unbroken movement
especially : one of a series of repeated or to-and-fro movements
3
a
: a controlled swing intended to hit a ball or shuttlecock
also : a striking of the ball
b
: such a stroke charged to a player as a unit of scoring in golf
4
a
: a sudden action or process producing an impact
a stroke of lightning
b
: an unexpected result
a stroke of luck
the idea was a stroke of inspiration
a master stroke of diplomacy
5
: sudden impairment or loss of consciousness, sensation, and voluntary motion that is caused by rupture or obstruction (as by a clot) of a blood vessel supplying the brain, and is accompanied by permanent damage of brain tissue

Note: Symptoms of stroke include numbness or weakness on one side of the body or face, confusion, impaired speech or vision, loss of coordination or balance, trouble walking, or severe headache.

called also apoplexy, brain attack, cerebrovascular accident

compare ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, transient ischemic attack
6
a
: one of a series of propelling beats or movements against a resisting medium
a stroke of the oar
b
: a rower who sets the pace for a crew
7
a
: a vigorous or energetic effort by which something is done, produced, or accomplished
a stroke of genius
a brilliant diplomatic stroke
b
: a delicate or clever touch in a narrative, description, or construction
8
9
: the movement in either direction of a mechanical part (such as a piston) having a reciprocating motion
also : the distance of such movement
10
: the sound of a bell being struck
at the stroke of twelve
also : the specific time indicated by or as if by such a sound
11
[stroke entry 1] : an act of stroking or caressing
12
a
: a mark or dash made by a single movement of an implement
b
: one of the lines of a letter of the alphabet

stroke

3 of 3

verb (2)

stroked; stroking

transitive verb

1
a
: to mark with a short line
stroke the t's
b
: to cancel by drawing a line through
stroked out his name
2
: to set the stroke for (a rowing crew)
also : to set the stroke for the crew of (a rowing boat)
3
sports : to hit, kick, or shoot (a ball) with a smooth movement
stroke a putt
stroked a single to left field

intransitive verb

1
: to execute a stroke
2
: to row at a certain number of strokes a minute
Phrases
at a stroke
: all at once
spent her savings at a stroke

Examples of stroke in a Sentence

Noun He had a stroke last winter. She has a strong backhand stroke. He is ahead by two strokes. She swims with long, smooth strokes. the stroke of an oar She knows the four basic strokes. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
With a dry brush tool, stroke your body– from head to toe– ahead of bathing, then wash off the dead skin in the shower. India Espy-Jones, Essence, 1 Feb. 2024 Sometimes, just touching or stroking a child can soothe them. Shaun Dreisbach, Parents, 23 Jan. 2024 For those who are not there to stroke Musk’s ego, but to hold on to a job for visa or family reasons, speaking up is simply not an option. Byzoë Schiffer, Fortune, 19 Jan. 2024 Several groups of researchers experimented with having A.I. algorithms generate words, images and even music based on people’s brain scans—a technique that, down the line, could help stroke patients and paralyzed people to communicate by thinking. Carlyn Kranking, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Dec. 2023 Agassi, Gilbert said, had a photographic memory and an analytical mind that could take apart a match hours later, stroke by stroke, with total recall. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, 2 Sep. 2023 The pitch comes: Ohtani taps his toes, coils his hips, readies his hands, and strokes a line drive into right field. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, 23 Sep. 2023 Kirsten Thomas, 30, sat at the corner in a wheelchair stroking her dog, Billy. Heather Knight, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2023 Just use that gripper (clean, of course) to stroke the ear of corn and remove all that pesky silk. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 5 Nov. 2023
Noun
Because nurture does matter, here are some broad strokes. Alex Morris, Rolling Stone, 14 Feb. 2024 The American public, of course, didn’t know the truth about Woodrow Wilson’s condition after his stroke, nor about the extent of JFK’s health difficulties. Rich Lowry, National Review, 13 Feb. 2024 That next violation, the one with the $81,000 fine, came after a worker died in the field from heat stroke. Alex Harris, Miami Herald, 13 Feb. 2024 The idea of reduction runs through Arsham's catalog, from utilizing the white walls of galleries to displaying protruding forms - lacking color - conversely, reducing the Cavaliers logo while upgrading its familiar strokes. Cassell Ferere, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 In severe cases, mitral valve prolapse could lead to serious complications such as heart attack and stroke, according to the organization. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 7 Feb. 2024 Everywhere is Taliban In broad strokes, Kander told The Star, the events unfurled like this: A former Army captain, Kander had served in Afghanistan as a military intelligence officer for roughly four months, October 2006 to February 2007. Eric Adler, Kansas City Star, 7 Feb. 2024 And high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart diseases like coronary artery disease and stroke. Mira Cheng, CNN, 5 Feb. 2024 The initial aim is to help someone who has had a stroke or who has a motor degenerative disease like ALS or other physical problems communicate directly through the implant to an outside device like a phone, tablet or computer. Jen Christensen, CNN, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Old English strācian; akin to Old High German strīhhan to stroke — more at strike

Noun

Middle English; akin to Old English strīcan to stroke — more at strike

First Known Use

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1597, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of stroke was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near stroke

Cite this Entry

“Stroke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stroke. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

stroke

1 of 3 verb
stroked; stroking
1
: to rub gently in one direction
2
: to pass the hand over gently in kindness or tenderness
stroker noun

stroke

2 of 3 noun
1
: the act of striking
especially : a blow with a weapon or instrument
2
: a single unbroken movement
especially : one of a series of repeated or to-and-fro movements
3
: a striking of the ball in a game
especially : a striking or attempt to strike the ball that counts as the scoring unit in golf
4
a
: a sudden action or process that results in something being struck
stroke of lightning
b
: an unexpected result
stroke of luck
5
: sudden weakening or loss of consciousness or the power to feel or move caused by the breaking or blocking (as by a clot) of a blood vessel in the brain

called also apoplexy

6
: one of a series of movements that pushes against something
stroke of an oar
7
: a vigorous or energetic effort by which something is done, produced, or accomplished
a stroke of genius
8
: the movement or the distance of the movement in either direction of a mechanical part (as a piston) having a forward and backward motion
9
: the sound of a bell being struck
at the stroke of twelve
10
a
: a mark made by a single movement of a tool
a stroke of the pen
b
: one of the lines of a letter of the alphabet

stroke

3 of 3 verb
stroked; stroking
1
: to show or cancel with a line
stroked out my name
2
: hit entry 1 sense 1a
gently stroked the ball toward the hole
Etymology

Verb

Old English strācian "stroke, caress"

Noun

Middle English stroke "act of striking"

Medical Definition

stroke

noun
: sudden impairment or loss of consciousness, sensation, and voluntary motion that is caused by rupture or obstruction (as by a clot) of a blood vessel supplying the brain and is accompanied by permanent damage of brain tissue

Note: Symptoms of stroke include numbness or weakness on one side of the body or face, confusion, impaired speech or vision, loss of coordination or balance, trouble walking, or severe headache. The most common type of stroke, ischemic stroke, results from a narrowed or blocked blood vessel, while hemorrhagic stroke results from a ruptured blood vessel. A very brief interruption of blood supply to the brain usually without lasting effects is called a ministroke or a transient ischemic attack.

… people at risk for stroke should be evaluated for surgery to open up blockages in the arteries of the neck.Jay Siwek, The Washington Post
Partial paralysis and speech difficulties often follow these strokes.Bruce Bower, Science News
stroke survivors

called also apoplexy, brain attack, cerebral accident, cerebrovascular accident

More from Merriam-Webster on stroke

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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