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

While the broad strokes of Segale's role in Mario's naming remain consistent, the particulars can change with the retelling. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Mario Segale, namesake for Nintendo’s mascot, dies at 84," 2 Nov. 2018 Activision’s highly anticipated launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is just hours away–the official launch is the stroke of midnight (Eastern time) on October 12. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Pick up Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 for 15 percent off before it launches tonight," 11 Oct. 2018 But finding an actual offspring of the two groups — which are more different from each other than any two present-day human groups — seemed like a rare stroke of luck, Paabo said. Fox News, "Mom was Neanderthal: Fossil shows mix of humankind's cousins," 22 Aug. 2018 In a stroke of millennial-nostalgia-fueled genius, St. Ives is coming out with a rollerball version of its beloved Apricot Scrub, bottling the fresh, familiar apricot scent into a 10-milliliter bottle, according to Bustle. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "St. Ives Apricot Scrub Releases Rollerball Fragrance," 2 Aug. 2018 By a stroke of luck, when Xing got the call was on his way to Canada to collaborate with Caldwell on an already-in-progress study of reptiles. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Oldest Ever Baby Snake Discovered in Forest Amber," 19 July 2018 He was denied by the post in a huge stroke of luck for England, and Rebic failed to control his rebound., "Croatia 2-1 England (AET): Three Lions' Hearts Broken as Mandzukic Scores Extra Time Winner," 11 July 2018 Wilson flips through higher magnification lenses, then focuses on a series of tiny ridges of the frame until the remnants of their machining look like the brush strokes of Chinese calligraphy. Adam Fisher, WIRED, "A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora’s Box for DIY Guns," 10 July 2018 Get ready to roll on the river and hope for a stroke of luck on the Rabbit Hash to Rising Sun ferry. Melissa Reinert,, "Ferry from Rabbit Hash to Rising Sun to be christened this Thursday," 9 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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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