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

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 The cleanup hitting Cardinals slugger stroked it for a solo home run. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Carlos Correa's grand slam sparks Astros past Cardinals," 27 July 2019 Bailey Cox of Baldwin County also stroked two hits, stole a base and drove in a run for the South in Game 1. Dennis Victory, al, "South earns 1st series sweep in Sports Week softball history," 17 July 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But Sergio was sidelined by a stroke and the trip never materialized — until this summer, that is. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: City schools chief Cindy Marten shares a big summer vacation surprise," 28 Aug. 2019 Westminster won last year’s regular-season matchup by six strokes, and took the county tournament a few days later to defend its title. Pat Stoetzer,, "Fall sports previews: 3 things to watch for golf in 2019," 22 Aug. 2019 Senior Vanessa Betancourt was co-medalist with a one-under-par 35 as the Huntington Beach High girls’ golf team broke its school record by six strokes, beating Edison 187-200 in Wednesday’s nonleague match at Mile Square Golf Course. Daily Pilot, "High School Roundup: Huntington Beach girls’ golf breaks school record," 21 Aug. 2019 By broad strokes, vast majorities of Americans support background checks before buying a weapon. Philip Elliott, Time, "Gun Safety Measures Have Momentum Right Now. That May Change Before Congress Comes Back," 12 Aug. 2019 Things get trickier still if the two stars appear extremely close together in the sky—and by a stroke of bad luck, stars A and B reached the tightest point in their 80-year orbit in 2016. Corey S. Powell, Scientific American, "The Hunt Is on for Alpha Centauri’s Planets," 5 Aug. 2019 By a stroke of luck, the ship’s crew managed to restart the engine before that could happen. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "Climate change is luring cruise ships to sail risky Arctic passages," 1 Aug. 2019 Roberts shot 69-66 for a 9-under par, 135 to win the Class 3A individual championship by one stroke over Brett Schell of Bartram Trail on the El Campeon Course at the Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills last fall. Gary Curreri,, "Teen golfer visits with First Tee group," 25 July 2019 Clutch putts proved the difference as Herman edged Kelly Kraft by one stroke to win the PGA Tour’s 2019 Barbasol Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club near Lexington. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Jim Herman wins Barbasol Championship by one stroke on weather-delayed Sunday," 22 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

15 Oct 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

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


to fake an opponent out of position

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