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
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 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


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

Of course, split infinitives, dangling modifiers, and subject-verb disagreements have always appeared wherever words are uttered or keys are stroked. Jake Cline, The Atlantic, "How Using Social Media Makes People Better Writers," 10 Aug. 2019 How to stroke a cat The key to success is to focus on providing the cat with as much choice and control during interactions as possible. Lauren Robin Finka, Quartz, "How to stroke a cat, according to science," 23 July 2019 Near the trailer, Gipson’s son Henry Jr. stood with his hand stroking his chin, observing the night’s turnout. al, "‘We’re just getting this place back in order:’ The next chapter at Gip’s will sing the juke joint’s gospel," 13 Aug. 2019 However, Colorado jumped on him quickly with Nolan Arenado stroking a two-out single to left and advancing to second on a wild pitch. Kevin Henry, The Denver Post, "Jon Gray, Rockies clobbered by Padres after disastrous sixth inning," 8 Aug. 2019 Abreu followed by stroking a two-run single to right field. Staff Report,, "Yard Goats rally past Rumble Ponies to stay in first place," 10 June 2019 Brewer provided Michigan with its first lead, 5-4, by stroking a two-run single to left. Steve Yingling, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan baseball advances to NCAA super regional by crushing Creighton," 3 June 2019 Having struck out in the previous inning, Braun redeemed himself by stroking a double to straightaway center on a 2-2 count to drive in both Santana and Sogard and put the Brewers back in front. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 5, Pirates 3: Ryan Braun delivers the big blow," 5 May 2018 Gregarious and charming, Passage had an irresistible attraction for travelers coming up the highway: tiger cubs, playthings that padded on oversize paws among marveling visitors who paid to stroke their dense fur., "The trouble with tigers in America," 13 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Figures previously presented in court showed at least 22 Texas inmates have died of heat stroke since 1998, although none at the Pack Unit. Fox News, "Judge threatens to keep Texas prison officials in hot cells over 'oppressive' conditions," 7 Sep. 2019 My first husband, Jeff Limerick, died of a stroke on February 1, 2005, at age 56. Patty Limerick, The Denver Post, "Limerick: We yearn to help after human tragedies, and there is a way," 16 Aug. 2019 Bell passed away July 31 from complications of a stroke. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jim Bell, environmentalist, one-time mayoral candidate, dies at 77," 8 Aug. 2019 DesLauriers died July 13 from complications of a stroke. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "Eagan’s first police chief, a ‘walking history book,’ dies at 87," 23 July 2019 Former Giants offensive lineman Mitch Petrus died Thursday night of an apparent heat stroke, the Pulaski County Coroner confirmed to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Emily Caron,, "Former Giants Offensive Lineman Mitch Petrus Dies From Heat Stroke at 32," 19 July 2019 Signs of heat stroke are extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees); red, hot, dry skin with no sweat and a rapid pulse. Christine Dempsey,, "Weather service warns of excessive heat Saturday, temps to feel like 107," 18 July 2019 What are the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion? Ben Tobin, The Courier-Journal, "Deadly heat is descending on Louisville. Here's what you need to know," 18 July 2019 The first events are the Individual Medley where swimmers swim one lap of each stroke — Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle. Lois Szymanski,, "Westminster Stingrays Swim Team looks at reflection at 30th anniversary," 15 July 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

17 Sep 2019

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on stroke

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stroke

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stroke

Spanish Central: Translation of stroke

Nglish: Translation of stroke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stroke for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about stroke

Comments on stroke

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authorized for issue (as a bond)

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