verb (1)
\ ˈstrōk How to pronounce stroke (audio) \
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 the idea was a stroke of inspiration a master stroke of diplomacy
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
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
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 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

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Other Words from stroke

Verb (1)

stroker noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And for the same reason a black female bailiff was seen stroking Guyger’s blond hair after she was found guilty of murder. Dahleen Glanton, Twin Cities, "Dahleen Glanton: A black man forgave the white cop who killed his brother. And some African Americans don’t like it," 10 Oct. 2019 During the same sentencing hearing, a Black woman bailiff briefly stroked Guyger’s blonde hair, smoothing as one would a Barbie doll. Kirsten West Savali, Essence, "On Judge Tammy Kemp And Why Playing The Help Ain’t A Pathway To Heaven," 3 Oct. 2019 Yaz played his first Red Sox game 58 years ago, stroking a soft single to left in his first at-bat at Fenway Park on April 11, 1961 (attendance: 10,277)., "“It will be the first time since 1983 that the name ‘Yastrzemski’ will be announced,’’ says Grandpa Yaz, now 80. “It’s definitely going to be emotional. To see him come into Fenway Park where I played for 23 years, to have his name announced, that will be a great thrill for me.’’," 17 Sep. 2019 Yelich blooped an opposite-field double into shallow left and scored when Braun stroked a single to center. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 8, Diamondbacks 3: Six late runs against Arizona bullpen turn the game upside down," 20 July 2019 Some of her suggestions (stroke the rim of your glass to arouse your date’s desire) might raise eyebrows. Raisa Bruner, Time, "A Sexologist, a Comedian and a Woman on a 'Man Fast' Rewrite the Rules of Dating," 8 Aug. 2019 With one down, Grandal drew his 98th walk of the season, Moustakas stroked a single through the left side and Ryan Braun walked to load the bases. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 5, Cardinals 2: Homers by Moustakas and Grandal help the Brewers hand Flaherty a rare loss," 14 Sep. 2019 With two outs, three straight batters stroked singles, making the score 8-6. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sweetwater Valley Little League eliminated in West Region," 7 Aug. 2019 Then Arenado delivered his hallelujah single and Ryan McMahon stroked a two-run double to right. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ Jon Gray dominates Dodgers in 9-1 victory," 29 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And smog has been linked to higher rates of stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer and chronic lung disease. CNN, "Schools were shut and flights diverted. But air pollution still isn't a political issue in India," 6 Nov. 2019 Symptoms are often likened to the effects of a stroke — where the message from a person’s brain to their mouth, tongue and cheeks get stuck in limbo. Yvette Orozco, Houston Chronicle, "Boy’s challenges lead Seabrook mom to spread awareness about rare disorder," 30 Oct. 2019 The Baltimore Sun reported that D'Alesandro died of a stroke in his North Baltimore home. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "Thomas D'Alesandro III, Nancy Pelosi's brother and former Baltimore mayor, has died at age 90," 20 Oct. 2019 The cause was complications of a stroke, Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Ms. Pelosi’s office, said. New York Times, "Thomas D’Alesandro, 90, Ex-Mayor of Baltimore and Pelosi’s Brother, Dies," 20 Oct. 2019 Elderly people, particularly those who can’t afford to run an air conditioner, will face the risk of heat stroke and death. Allegra Kirkland, Quartz, "What climate change will do to three major American cities by 2100," 18 Oct. 2019 Astrid Hanzalek, a state legislator, environmentalist and civic leader, died Sept. 1 in her home in Suffield of a stroke. Anne M. Hamilton,, "Extraordinary Life: When things had to get done, Astrid Hanzalek was the one to call," 22 Sep. 2019 Zoe, another Belgian Malinois, died of heat stroke on the Syrian border in 2017, less than a year after her arrival. oregonlive, "U.S. officials knew bomb-sniffing dogs were dying from neglect in Jordan. They sent more.," 16 Sep. 2019 Neurologic disease Fossil fuel pollution can increase the risk of stroke. Emily Holden, Scientific American, "Climate Change Is Having Widespread Health Impacts," 16 Sep. 2019

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

12 Nov 2019

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 How to pronounce stroke (audio) \
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 How to pronounce stroke (audio) \

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 calculated move

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