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From Middle English striken, from Old English strīcan, from Proto-Germanic *strīkaną. Cognate with Dutch strijken, German streichen and streiken, Danish stryge, Icelandic strýkja, strýkva.



strike ‎(third-person singular simple present strikes, present participle striking, simple past struck, past participle struck or stricken)

  1. (transitive, sometimes with out or through) To delete or cross out; to scratch or eliminate.
    Please strike the last sentence.
  2. (heading, physical) To have a sharp or sudden effect.
    1. (transitive) To hit.
      Strike the door sharply with your foot and see if it comes loose.  A bullet struck him.The ship struck a reef.
      • William Shakespeare (c.1564–1616)
        He at Philippi kept / His sword e'en like a dancer; while I struck / The lean and wrinkled Cassius.
    2. (transitive) To give, as a blow; to impel, as with a blow; to give a force to; to dash; to cast.
      • Bible, Exodus xii.7:
        They shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two sideposts.
      • Lord Byron (1788-1824)
        Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.
    3. (intransitive) To deliver a quick blow or thrust; to give blows.
      A hammer strikes against the bell of a clock.
    4. (transitive) To manufacture, as by stamping.
      We will strike a medal in your honour.
    5. (intransitive, dated) To run upon a rock or bank; to be stranded.
      The ship struck in the night.
    6. (transitive) To cause to sound by one or more beats; to indicate or notify by audible strokes. Of a clock, to announce (an hour of the day), usually by one or more sounds.
      The clock struck twelve.  The drums strike up a march.
    7. (intransitive) To sound by percussion, with blows, or as if with blows.
      • Lord Byron (1788-1824)
        A deep sound strikes like a rising knell.
    8. (transitive) To cause or produce by a stroke, or suddenly, as by a stroke.
      to strike a light
      • John Milton (1608-1674)
        Waving wide her myrtle wand, / She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.
    9. (transitive) To cause to ignite by friction.
      to strike a match
  3. (transitive) To thrust in; to cause to enter or penetrate.
    A tree strikes its roots deep.
  4. (heading, personal, social) To have a sharp or severe effect.
    1. (transitive) To punish; to afflict; to smite.
      • Bible, Proverbs xvii.26:
        To punish the just is not good, nor strike princes for equity.
    2. (intransitive) To carry out a violent or illegal action.
      • 1920, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Avery Hopwood, The Bat, chapterI:
        The Bat—they called him the Bat. Like a bat he chose the night hours for his work of rapine; like a bat he struck and vanished, pouncingly, noiselessly; like a bat he never showed himself to the face of the day.
    3. (intransitive) To act suddenly, especially in a violent or criminal way.
      The bank robber struck on the 2nd and 5th of May.
    4. (transitive, figuratively) To impinge upon.
      The first thing to strike my eye was a beautiful pagoda.  Tragedy struck when his brother was killed in a bush fire.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, The Celebrity:
        In the old days, to my commonplace and unobserving mind, he gave no evidences of genius whatsoever. He never read me any of his manuscripts, [], and therefore my lack of detection of his promise may in some degree be pardoned. But he had then none of the oddities and mannerisms which I hold to be inseparable from genius, and which struck my attention in after days when I came in contact with the Celebrity.
    5. (intransitive) To stop working to achieve better working conditions.
      The workers struck for a week before the new contract went through.
    6. (transitive) To impress, seem or appear (to).
      Golf has always struck me as a waste of time.
      • 1895, H. G. Wells, The Time Machine, Ch.X:
        I fancied at first the stuff was paraffin wax, and smashed the jar accordingly. But the odor of camphor was unmistakable. It struck me as singularly odd, that among the universal decay, this volatile substance had chanced to survive, perhaps through many thousand years.
    7. (transitive) To create an impression.
      The news struck a sombre chord.
      • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 20, The China Governess[1]:
        The story struck the depressingly familiar note with which true stories ring in the tried ears of experienced policemen. No one queried it. It was in the classic pattern of human weakness, mean and embarrassing and sad.
    8. (sports) To score a goal.
      • 2010 December 28, Marc Vesty, “Stoke 0-2 Fulham”, BBC:
        Defender Chris Baird struck twice early in the first half to help Fulham move out of the relegation zone and ease the pressure on manager Mark Hughes.
    9. (intransitive, Britain, obsolete, slang) To steal money.
      (Can we find and add a quotation of Nares to this entry?)
    10. (transitive, Britain, obsolete, slang) To take forcibly or fraudulently.
      to strike money
    11. To make a sudden impression upon, as if by a blow; to affect with some strong emotion.
      to strike the mind with surprise;  to strike somebody with wonder, alarm, dread, or horror
      • Francis Atterbury (1663-1732)
        Nice works of art strike and surprise us most on the first view.
      • Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
        They please as beauties, here as wonders strike.
    12. To affect by a sudden impression or impulse.
      The proposed plan strikes me favourably.  May the Lord strike down those sinners!I was struck dumb with astonishment.
    13. (slang, archaic) To borrow money from; to make a demand upon.
      He struck a friend for five dollars.
  5. To touch; to act by appulse.
    • John Locke (1632-1705)
      Hinder light but from striking on it [porphyry], and its colours vanish.
  6. (heading, transitive) To take down, especially in the following contexts.
    1. (nautical) To haul down or lower (a flag, mast, etc.)
    2. (by extension) To capitulate; to signal a surrender by hauling down the colours.
      The frigate has struck, sir! We've beaten them, the lily-livers!
      • Bishop Burnet (1643-1715)
        The English ships of war should not strike in the Danish seas.
    3. To dismantle and take away (a theater set; a tent; etc.).
      • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Ch.22:
        Strike the tent there!”—was the next order. As I hinted before, this whalebone marquee was never pitched except in port; and on board the Pequod, for thirty years, the order to strike the tent was well known to be the next thing to heaving up the anchor.
  7. (intransitive) To set off on a walk or trip.
    They struck off along the river.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 1, Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      I stumbled along through the young pines and huckleberry bushes. Pretty soon I struck into a sort of path that, I cal'lated, might lead to the road I was hunting for. It twisted and turned, and, the first thing I knew, made a sudden bend around a bunch of bayberry scrub and opened out into a big clear space like a lawn.
  8. (intransitive) To pass with a quick or strong effect; to dart; to penetrate.
    • Bible, Proverbs vii.23:
      till a dart strike through his liver
    • John Dryden (1631-1700)
      Now and then a glittering beam of wit or passion strikes through the obscurity of the poem.
  9. (dated) To break forth; to commence suddenly; with into.
    to strike into reputation;  to strike into a run
  10. (intransitive) To become attached to something; said of the spat of oysters.
  11. To make and ratify.
    to strike a bargain
  12. To level (a measure of grain, salt, etc.) with a straight instrument, scraping off what is above the level of the top.
  13. (masonry) To cut off (a mortar joint, etc.) even with the face of the wall, or inward at a slight angle.
  14. To hit upon, or light upon, suddenly.
    My eye struck a strange word in the text.  They soon struck the trail.
  15. To lade into a cooler, as a liquor.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of B. Edwards to this entry?)
  16. To stroke or pass lightly; to wave.
    • Bible, 2 Kings v.11:
      Behold, I thought, He will [] strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
  17. (obsolete) To advance; to cause to go forward; used only in the past participle.
  18. To balance (a ledger or account).

Usage notes[edit]

Custom influences which participle is used in set phrases and specific contexts, but in general, the past participle "struck" is more common when speaking of intransitive actions (e.g. He'd struck it rich, or He's struck out on his own, etc.), while "stricken" is more commonly used for transitive actions, especially constructions where the subject is the object of an implied action (e.g. The Court has stricken the statement from the record, or The city was stricken with disease, etc.)

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


strike ‎(plural strikes)

  1. (baseball) A status resulting from a batter swinging and missing a pitch, or not swinging at a pitch in the strike zone, or hitting a foul ball that is not caught.
  2. (bowling) The act of knocking down all ten pins in on the first roll of a frame.
  3. A work stoppage (or otherwise concerted stoppage of an activity) as a form of protest.
  4. A blow or application of physical force against something.
  5. (finance) In an option contract, the price at which the holder buys or sells if they choose to exercise the option.
  6. An old English measure of corn equal to the bushel.
    • 1882, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England Volume 4, page 207:
      The sum is also used for the quarter, and the strike for the bushel.
  7. (cricket) The status of being the batsman that the bowler is bowling at.
    • The batsmen have crossed, and Dhoni now has the strike.
  8. The primary face of a hammer, opposite the peen.
  9. (geology) The compass direction of the line of intersection between a rock layer and the surface of the Earth.
  10. An instrument with a straight edge for levelling a measure of grain, salt, etc., scraping off what is above the level of the top; a strickle.
  11. (obsolete) Fullness of measure; hence, excellence of quality.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      Three hogsheads of ale of the first strike.
  12. An iron pale or standard in a gate or fence.
  13. (ironworking) A puddler's stirrer.
  14. (obsolete) The extortion of money, or the attempt to extort money, by threat of injury; blackmail.
  15. The discovery of a source of something.
    • 2013 August 3, “Yesterday’s fuel”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8847: 
      The dawn of the oil age was fairly recent. Although the stuff was used to waterproof boats in the Middle East 6,000 years ago, extracting it in earnest began only in 1859 after an oil strike in Pennsylvania. The first barrels of crude fetched $18 (around $450 at today’s prices).
  16. A strike plate.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.




strike m ‎(invariable)

  1. strike (in baseball and ten-pin bowling)