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From Middle English streke, from Old English strica, from Proto-Germanic *strikiz, from Proto-Indo-European *streyg- (line). Related to North Frisian strijck, Old Saxon striki, Middle Low German streke, Low German streek, Danish streg, Swedish streck, Norwegian Bokmål strek, Icelandic stryk, strykr, Dutch streek, Afrikaans streek, Old High German strih, German Strich, Gothic 𐍃𐍄𐍂𐌹𐌺𐍃 (striks).


  • IPA(key): /stɹiːk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːk


streak (plural streaks)

  1. An irregular line left from smearing or motion.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      'Twas early June, the new grass was flourishing everywheres, the posies in the yard—peonies and such—in full bloom, the sun was shining, and the water of the bay was blue, with light green streaks where the shoal showed.
    The picture I took out the car window had streaks.
  2. A continuous series of like events.
    I hope I can keep up this streak of accomplishments.
    I was on a winning streak until the fourth game, when I was dealt terrible cards.
  3. The color of the powder of a mineral. So called, because a simple field test for a mineral is to streak it against unglazed white porcelain.
  4. A moth of the family Geometridae, Chesias legatella.
  5. A tendency or characteristic, but not a dominant or pervasive one.
    She's a quiet, bookish person, but she has a rebellious streak.
    • 2017 November 14, Phil McNulty, “England 0-0 Brazil”, in BBC News[1]:
      Rashford showed the fearless streak Southgate so admires with his constant willingness to run at Brazil's defence with pace, even demonstrating on occasion footwork that would not have been out of place from members of England's illustrious opposition.
    • 2022 June 29, Sam Biddle, “Cryptocurrency Titan Coinbase Providing "Geo Tracking Data" to ICE”, in The Intercept[2]:
      Coinbase’s government work has proved highly controversial to many crypto fans, owing perhaps to the long-running libertarian streak in that community.
  6. (shipbuilding) A strake.
  7. A rung or round of a ladder.
  8. The act of streaking, or running naked through a public area.

Derived terms[edit]



streak (third-person singular simple present streaks, present participle streaking, simple past and past participle streaked)

  1. (intransitive) To have or obtain streaks.
    If you clean a window in direct sunlight, it will streak.
  2. (intransitive) To run quickly.
    • 1938, Norman Lindsay, Age of Consent, Sydney: Ure Smith, published 1962, page 82:
      "As it was I came a hell of a crack against a Dam' rustic arbour in the garden. Dam' near stunned me. But I never stopped a second. Up and over the back fence and streaked for the common."
  3. (intransitive) To run naked in public. (Contrast flash)
    It was a pleasant game until some guy went streaking across the field.
  4. (transitive) To create streaks.
    You will streak a window by cleaning it in direct sunlight.
  5. (transitive) To move very swiftly.
  6. (obsolete, UK, Scotland) To stretch; to extend; hence, to lay out, as a dead body.


See also[edit]