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 : 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

Bates led off the third with a single to right, moved to second on a wild pickoff attempt and scored when Flores stroked a single to center on a 1-2 count. Terry Wood, The Seattle Times, "Huskies down Fordham in their opening game at NCAA softball regionals," 18 May 2019 The makeshift wing-back inexplicably sent King crashing to the turf right on the edge of the area with the latter facing away from goal and, after dusting himself down, the striker stroked the ball home to Schmeichel's left., "WATCH: Riyad Mahrez Scores Late Free-Kick Against Bournemouth," 3 Mar. 2018 His celebration — stroking his chin — may have been a G.O.A.T. reference. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Spain and Portugal Play a Draw for the Ages, Starring a Player for All Time," 3 Mar. 2018 The big man from Phoenix is 6-11, but plays more like a much smaller player, athletically getting to the rim, stroking in 3-pointers, soaring in for alley-oop dunks. John Marshall, Houston Chronicle, "Freshmen headline AP All-America team for first time," 27 Mar. 2018 Plus, Streaks is a lot less annoying than stroking your phone screen repeatedly for eight seconds for one measly life. Makena Kelly, The Verge, "HQ rewards you for still playing the game with extra lives for participating daily," 5 July 2018 The striker latched on to Pritchard's super through ball and, beating West Brom's high defensive line, stroked home past Ben Foster as boos rung down from the stands., "West Brom 1-2 Huddersfield: Pitiful Baggies Bested by Snappy Terriers at Hawthorns," 24 Feb. 2018 The duo danced for the big screen and took turns playfully stroking each other’s beards . Dan Gelston, The Seattle Times, "Truex makes move to Joe Gibbs Racing with championship goal," 11 Feb. 2019 Dylan Wood stroked two singles and had two RBIs for the Scotties. *** Dylan Stezzi homered and knocked in two runs as part of a four-run first inning in Eastern’s 4-3 triumph over Shawnee. Corey Sharp,, "Tuesday's S.J. roundup: Pennsauken baseball walks-off over Cinnaminson; Ocean City's Bradon Lashley no-hits Middle Township," 3 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

From the moment the first stroke of henna was applied, to driving down to Southern California, Zak’s hands were my hands. Urmila Ramakrishnan,, "We just wanted a save-the-date card with a hint of Bollywood. What could go wrong?," 7 June 2019 At the stroke of midnight, the Jonas Brothers dropped Happiness Begins, their fifth studio album and first in a decade. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Jonas Brothers' Comeback Album 'Happiness Begins' Is Here: Stream It Now," 7 June 2019 The centre-back popped up with another powerful header on the stroke of half time to give Les Bleus an unassailable lead going into the break., "France 4-0 South Korea: Report, Ratings and Reaction as Les Bleus Make Perfect World Cup Start," 7 June 2019 There is a smoothness to Cousins—in the gentle stroke of his jump shot, in those single-motion passes, in his dribbling, even in his soft-seeming exterior and cleanly shaven head, bound, neatly, by a headband. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "DeMarcus Cousins and Narrative Whiplash in the N.B.A. Finals," 6 June 2019 Today, the brand introduced the latest stroke of sartorial genius courtesy of its creative director Riccardo Tisci: A men's and women's Monogram Collection, modeled by fashion darling Gigi Hadid. Ineye Komonibo, Marie Claire, "Gigi Hadid Transforms Into 4 Different Characters for Burberry's Monogram Collection," 14 May 2019 The 59-year-old Naruhito formally took his new title at the stroke of midnight, hours after his father, Emperor Akihito, bid farewell to the Japanese people, ending a 30-year reign. Peter Landers, WSJ, "Japan’s New Emperor Ascends to Chrysanthemum Throne After Father Abdicates," 30 Apr. 2019 With Miletto, there is always a note of discretion, punctuated with a stroke of style. Stellene Volandes, ELLE Decor, "Jeweler Antonia Miletto Leads a Fairy-Tale Existence in Her 16th-Century Townhouse in Venice," 17 Apr. 2019 In a stroke of good fortune, making a jet using a circular opening produces a gas with a parabolic density profile. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Gas jets make beautiful lens for light we can’t normally focus," 21 Dec. 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

11 Jun 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

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