from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or an instance of striking, as with the hand, a weapon, or a tool; a blow or impact.
  • n. The striking of a bell or gong.
  • n. The sound so produced.
  • n. The time so indicated: at the stroke of midnight.
  • n. A sudden action or process having a strong impact or effect: a stroke of lightning.
  • n. A sudden occurrence or result: a stroke of luck; a stroke of misfortune.
  • n. A sudden severe attack, as of paralysis or sunstroke.
  • n. A sudden loss of brain function caused by a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel to the brain, characterized by loss of muscular control, diminution or loss of sensation or consciousness, dizziness, slurred speech, or other symptoms that vary with the extent and severity of the damage to the brain. Also called cerebral accident, cerebrovascular accident.
  • n. An inspired or effective idea or act: a stroke of genius.
  • n. A single uninterrupted movement, especially when repeated or in a back-and-forth motion: the stroke of a pendulum.
  • n. Any of a series of movements of a piston from one end of the limit of its motion to another.
  • n. A single completed movement of the limbs and body, as in swimming or rowing.
  • n. The manner or rate of executing such a movement: My favorite stroke is butterfly. She had a very rapid stroke.
  • n. Nautical The rower who sits nearest the coxswain or the stern and sets the tempo for the other rowers.
  • n. Nautical The position occupied by this person.
  • n. Sports A movement of the upper torso and arms for the purpose of striking a ball, as in golf or tennis.
  • n. Sports The manner of executing such a movement.
  • n. Sports A scoring unit in golf counted for such a movement: finished six strokes under par.
  • n. A single mark made by a writing or marking implement, such as a pen.
  • n. The act of making such a mark.
  • n. A printed line in a graphic character that resembles such a mark.
  • n. A distinctive effect or deft touch, as in literary composition.
  • transitive v. To mark with a single short line.
  • transitive v. To draw a line through; cancel: stroked out the last sentence.
  • transitive v. Nautical To set the pace for (a rowing crew).
  • transitive v. To hit or propel (a ball, for example) with a smoothly regulated swing.
  • intransitive v. To make or perform a stroke.
  • intransitive v. Nautical To row at a particular rate per minute.
  • transitive v. To rub lightly, with or as if with the hand or something held in the hand; caress.
  • transitive v. Informal To behave attentively or flatteringly toward, especially in order to restore to confidence or win over.
  • n. A light caressing movement, as of the hand.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An act of stroking (moving one's hand over a surface).
  • n. A blow or hit.
  • n. A single movement with a tool.
  • n. A line drawn with a pen or other writing implement.
  • n. The time when a clock strikes.
  • n. A particular style of swimming.
  • n. The loss of brain function arising when the blood supply to the brain is suddenly interrupted.
  • n. The rower who is nearest the stern of the boat.
  • n. Backstage influence.
  • n. ) A point awarded to a player in case of interference or obstruction by the opponent.
  • v. To move one's hand or an object (such as a broom) along (a surface) in one direction.
  • v. To hit the ball with the bat in a flowing motion.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of striking; a blow; a hit; a knock; esp., a violent or hostile attack made with the arm or hand, or with an instrument or weapon.
  • n. The result of effect of a striking; injury or affliction; soreness.
  • n. The striking of the clock to tell the hour.
  • n. A gentle, caressing touch or movement upon something; a stroking.
  • n. A mark or dash in writing or printing; a line; the touch of a pen or pencil.
  • n. Hence, by extension, an addition or amandment to a written composition; a touch.
  • n. A sudden attack of disease; especially, a fatal attack; a severe disaster; any affliction or calamity, especially a sudden one.
  • n. A throb or beat, as of the heart.
  • n. One of a series of beats or movements against a resisting medium, by means of which movement through or upon it is accomplished
  • n. The rate of succession of stroke.
  • n. The oar nearest the stern of a boat, by which the other oars are guided; -- called also stroke oar.
  • n. The rower who pulls the stroke oar; the strokesman.
  • n. A powerful or sudden effort by which something is done, produced, or accomplished; also, something done or accomplished by such an effort
  • n. The movement, in either direction, of the piston plunger, piston rod, crosshead, etc., as of a steam engine or a pump, in which these parts have a reciprocating motion; ; also, the entire distance passed through, as by a piston, in such a movement.
  • n. Power; influence.
  • n. Appetite.
  • Struck.
  • transitive v. To strike.
  • transitive v. To rib gently in one direction; especially, to pass the hand gently over by way of expressing kindness or tenderness; to caress; to soothe.
  • transitive v. To make smooth by rubbing.
  • transitive v. To give a finely fluted surface to.
  • transitive v. To row the stroke oar of.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To act as stroke or strokesman to; handle the stroke-oar for or of.
  • To pass the hands or an instrument over (something) lightly or with little pressure; rub, or rub down, with a gentle movement in a single direction: an action often performed for soothing or caressing a person or an animal, also for smoothing or polishing an object, etc., and sometimes as a curative process.
  • Hence, figuratively, to soothe; flatter; pacify; encourage.
  • To affect in some way by a rubbing action.
  • In masonry, to work the face of (a stone) in such a manner as to produce a sort of fluted surface.
  • n. A sweeping movement of a sustained object; the moving of something held or supported through a limited course; in mech., one of a series of alternating continuous movements of something back and forth over or through the same line: as, the strokes of an oar; a stroke of a pen in writing; the strokes of a file, a saw, a piston-rod, or a pump-handle; the length of stroke of a pendulum.
  • n. In rowing, specifically— The manner or style of moving the oars or making strokes; the handling of the oars: as, to set the stroke for the race; the stroke was very rapid or exhausting.
  • n. The guiding-stroke: as, to pull stroke in a race.
  • n. The rower who sets the stroke; the stroke-oar or strokesman.
  • n. A line or mark impressed by or as if by a sweeping movement; hence, a part of an impression of any kind appearing as if so made: as, the hair-strokes, curved strokes, or up-and-down strokes of a letter; fine or coarse strokes in an engraving. See cut under type.
  • n. A throb; a pulsation; a beat.
  • n. In musical instruments with a keyboard, the range of motion of a key.
  • n. A striking of one body or mass upon another; a sudden impact of an object moved or hurled through space; a blow or concussion, especially one administered or effected by design or in some definite manner: as, a stroke of the fist or of a sword; the strokes of a hammer; the stroke of a bat, a cue, or a mallet against a ball (in various games).
  • n. A sudden or special effect produced upon an object as if by a striking movement; a result or consequence of the action of some rapidly working or efficient agency or cause: as, a stroke of lightning; a stroke of paralysis (for which the word stroke is often used absolutely, both colloquially and by physicians): the stroke of fate or of death: used in the Bible especially of a divine chastisement or judgment.
  • n. A sound of striking; a resonant concussion; a giving out of sounds by striking: as, the strokes of a bell or a hammer; the clock is on (that is, on the point of giving out) the stroke of twelve.
  • n. An effective movement, action, or expression; an energetic touch, effort, or exertion; a piece or course of activity: as, a good stroke of business; he will not do a stroke of work; a bold stroke for liberty.
  • n. A trait; a feature; a characteristic.
  • n. A feat; a thing successfully done; a coup.
  • n. Capacity for doing anything; effective ability; skill in action or manipulation.
  • n. Moving or controlling power; influence; sway; ascendancy; standing; importance.
  • n. An act of stroking; a stroking caress.
  • n. An obsolete form of the preterit of strike.
  • n. In golf, any movement of the ball caused by the player, except as provided for in the rule, or any downward movement of the club made with the intention of striking the ball.
  • n. In function-theory, a directed sect in an assigned plane. Two strokes are equal when they are of equal lengths and drawn along parallel lines in the same sense.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a light touch
  • v. touch lightly and repeatedly, as with brushing motions
  • n. a single complete movement
  • v. treat gingerly or carefully
  • n. the oarsman nearest the stern of the shell who sets the pace for the rest of the crew
  • n. (sports) the act of swinging or striking at a ball with a club or racket or bat or cue or hand
  • v. row at a particular rate
  • n. a sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture or occlusion of a blood vessel leads to oxygen lack in the brain
  • n. a mark made on a surface by a pen, pencil, or paintbrush
  • n. the maximum movement available to a pivoted or reciprocating piece by a cam
  • n. anything that happens suddenly or by chance without an apparent cause
  • n. (golf) the unit of scoring in golf is the act of hitting the ball with a club
  • n. any one of the repeated movements of the limbs and body used for locomotion in swimming or rowing
  • n. a light touch with the hands
  • v. strike a ball with a smooth blow
  • n. a punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, probably from Old English *strāc.
Middle English stroken, from Old English strācian, from *strāc, stroke.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English *stroak, strok, strak, from Old English *strāc (“stroke”), from Proto-Germanic *straikaz (“stroke”), from Proto-Indo-European *streyg- (“stroke; to strike”). Cognate with Scots strak, strake, straik ("stroke, blow"), Middle Low German strēk ("stroke, trick, prank"), German Streich ("stroke").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English stroken, straken, from Old English strācian ("to stroke"), from Proto-Germanic *straikōnan (“to stroke, caress”). Cognate with German streicheln ("to stroke, fondle").



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  • I had a great uncle who, after suffering a stroke, could no longer remember certain words. Notable among them was the word "stroke". He would write it all over on notepads and in the margins of newspapers to help him remember it. Sometimes he would still have to ask his wife "What did I have again?".

    I think he also had a problem with the word chicken

    April 11, 2007