verb (1)
\ˈstrōk \
stroked; stroking

Definition of stroke 

(Entry 1 of 3)

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



Definition of stroke (Entry 2 of 3)

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

3a : 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

4a : a sudden action or process producing an impact a stroke of lightning

b : an unexpected result a stroke of luck

5 : sudden diminution or loss of consciousness, sensation, and voluntary motion caused by rupture or obstruction (as by a clot) of a blood vessel of the brain

called also apoplexy, brain attack, cerebrovascular accident

6a : 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

7a : 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 : heartbeat

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 [ 1stroke ] : an act of stroking or caressing

12a : a mark or dash made by a single movement of an implement

b : one of the lines of a letter of the alphabet

at a stroke

: all at once spent her savings at a stroke


verb (2)
stroked; stroking

Definition of stroke (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : 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 : hit especially : to propel (a ball) with a controlled swinging blow

intransitive verb

1 : to execute a stroke

2 : to row at a certain number of strokes a minute

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Other Words from stroke

Verb (1)

stroker noun

Examples of stroke in a Sentence


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Federer is a delicate, brush-stroking impressionist and Nadal is a dogged, free-wheeling abstract expressionist. Jon Wertheim,, "'Strokes of Genius' Documentary Commemorates the Iconic Federer-Nadal '08 Wimbledon Final," 26 June 2018 Mike Gismondi had a double and an RBI for the Eagles. *** Jason Ferriero stroked a two-run triple to help Absegami beat Lower Cape May, 10-5. Corey Sharp,, "Friday's S.J. roundup: Alexa Sherr blasts two home runs in Collingswood's win," 20 Apr. 2018 Godman also stroked a solo home run in the third inning for a 1-0 lead, the 18th homer the team has hit. Terry Monahan,, "Westview ousted from Lions Tournament, but Wolverines find a hitter," 28 Mar. 2018 No Astro reached scoring position until the sixth, when Springer and Bregman stroked consecutive one-out singles. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros held scoreless in loss to A's," 10 July 2018 Spanish for mother, to the women cuddling, stroking and feeding them. New York Times, "As Migrant Families Are Reunited, Some Children Don’t Recognize Their Mothers," 10 July 2018 Ann presently cured Mrs Pitt’s leg after a bad fall merely by stroking it, and soon became so famous that numerous people flocked to the house for cures from as far south as Land’s End, and as far north as London. Longreads, "Fairy Scapegoats: A History of the Persecution of Changeling Children," 9 June 2018 Her mother stroked Janne’s hair, and cried softly as the girl wrapped her arms around her mother’s waist and didn’t let go for more than a minute. Lori Rozsa, Washington Post, "Girl, 7, reunited with mother after two-month separation under ‘zero tolerance’ border policy," 1 July 2018 According to the Daily Mail, Bear-McClard also stroked Waterhouse’s face, and the two left the gym together in a car. Allie Jones, The Cut, "Emily Ratajkowski’s Husband Put His Arm Around Suki Waterhouse!," 26 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But generally speaking, poor cerebral blood flow can lead to brain tissue death and result in stroke, hemorrhage and other conditions, according to Healthline. Laura Newberry,, "Citing health study, Lancaster mayor wants to ban workplace necktie requirements for city employees," 12 July 2018 There are indications that women with Parkinson’s are more likely than men to also suffer from diabetes, stroke, arthritis, and other conditions that may or may not have anything to do with Parkinson’s, Willis said. Terri Akman,, "Parkinson's Disease may affect women differently. These researchers aim to find out why," 12 July 2018 In a master stroke, Drossos made sure the case got tried in San Antonio before a favorable judge, who ruled in the Spurs favor. Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Leonard soap opera not unheard of; Spurs’ 45 seasons include plenty of drama," 15 June 2018 To advocates, the payoff from this kind of program would be immense: In a single stroke, the government could not only eliminate involuntary unemployment but also alter the private job market. Livia Gershon, Longreads, "More than Make-Work," 22 May 2018 The Warriors are like an artist with his nose to the canvas, living in the next stroke. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "The Warriors, looking beyond the moment to the greatness that awaits," 13 May 2018 Residents lined up for water under the scorching sun as temperatures rose to 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), raising risks of heat stroke. Washington Post, "Many out of power, water in flood-hit Japan; over 150 dead," 10 July 2018 An 89-year-old suffering symptoms of a stroke was medevaced off a Carnival cruise ship Monday evening, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "Coast Guard medevacs 89-year-old off Carnival cruise ship as it heads for Jamaica," 10 July 2018 Residents lined up for water under the scorching sun as temperatures rose to 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), raising risks of heat stroke. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "Many out of power, water in flood-hit Japan; over 150 dead," 10 July 2018

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

Verb (1)

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1597, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for stroke

Verb (1)

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


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

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Statistics for stroke

Last Updated

15 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stroke

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

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More Definitions for stroke



English Language Learners Definition of stroke

medical : a serious illness caused when a blood vessel in your brain suddenly breaks or is blocked

: an act of hitting a ball or the movement made to hit a ball during a game

golf : an act of hitting the ball that is counted as part of a player's score


\ˈstrōk \
stroked; stroking

Kids Definition of stroke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to rub gently in one direction I stroked the dog's head.



Kids Definition of stroke (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of striking : blow the stroke of a whip

2 : one of a series of repeated movements (as in swimming or rowing)

3 : a sudden serious illness caused by the breaking or blocking of an artery in the brain

4 : the sound of striking (as of a clock or bell) the stroke of midnight

5 : the hitting of a ball in a game (as golf or tennis)

6 : a sudden or unexpected example a stroke of luck

7 : a single movement or the mark made by a single movement of a brush, pen, or tool

8 : a sudden action or process that results in something being struck a stroke of lightning

9 : effort by which something is done or the results of such effort It was a stroke of genius.


\ˈstrōk \

Medical Definition of stroke 

: 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, 22 June 1999 Partial paralysis and speech difficulties often follow these strokes.— Bruce Bower, Science News, 25 Feb. 1984 stroke survivors

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

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Comments on stroke

What made you want to look up stroke? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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