verb (used with object), struck or (Obsolete) strook; struck or especially for 31–34, strick·en or (Obsolete) strook; strik·ing.

  1. to deal a blow or stroke to (a person or thing), as with the fist, a weapon, or a hammer; hit.
  2. to inflict, deliver, or deal (a blow, stroke, attack, etc.).
  3. to drive so as to cause impact: to strike the hands together.
  4. to thrust forcibly: Brutus struck a dagger into the dying Caesar.
  5. to produce (fire, sparks, light, etc.) by percussion, friction, etc.
  6. to cause (a match) to ignite by friction.
  7. (of some natural or supernatural agency) to smite or blast: Lightning struck the spire. May God strike you dead!
  8. to come into forcible contact or collision with; hit into or against: The ship struck a rock.
  9. to reach or fall upon (the senses), as light or sound: A shrill peal of bells struck their ears.
  10. to enter the mind of; occur to: A happy thought struck him.
  11. to catch or arrest (the sight, hearing, etc.): the first object that strikes one’s eye.
  12. to impress strongly: a picture that strikes one’s fancy.
  13. to impress in a particular manner: How does it strike you?
  14. to come across, meet with, or encounter suddenly or unexpectedly: to strike the name of a friend in a newspaper.
  15. to come upon or find (oil, ore, etc.) in drilling, prospecting, or the like.
  16. to send down or put forth (a root), as a plant or cutting.
  17. to arrive at or achieve by or as by balancing: to strike a balance; to strike a compromise.
  18. to take apart or pull down (a structure or object, as a tent).
  19. to remove from the stage (the scenery and properties of an act or scene): to strike a set.
  20. Nautical.
    1. to lower or take down (a sail, mast, etc.).
    2. to lower (a sail, flag, etc.) as a salute or as a sign of surrender.
    3. to lower (something) into the hold of a vessel by means of a rope and tackle.
  21. Falconry. to loosen (a hood) from the head of a hawk so that it may be instantly removed.
  22. Angling.
    1. to hook (a fish that has taken the bait) by making a sharp jerk on the line.
    2. (of a fish) to snatch at (the bait).
  23. to harpoon (a whale).
  24. (in technical use) to make level or smooth.
  25. to make level or even, as a measure of grain or salt, by drawing a strickle across the top.
  26. to efface, cancel, or cross out, with or as with the stroke of a pen (usually followed by out): to strike a passage out of a book.
  27. to impress or stamp (a coin, medal, etc.) by printing or punching: to strike a medal in commemoration.
  28. to remove or separate with or as if with a cut (usually followed by off): Illness struck him off from social contacts. The butcher struck off a chop.
  29. Masonry. to finish (a mortar joint) with a stroke of the trowel.
  30. to indicate (the hour of day) by a stroke or strokes, as a clock: to strike 12.
  31. to afflict suddenly, as with disease, suffering, or death (often followed by down): The plague struck Europe. Apoplexy struck him down.
  32. to overwhelm emotionally, as with terror or fear; affect deeply.
  33. to make blind, dumb, etc., suddenly, as if by a blow.
  34. to implant or induce (a feeling): to strike fear into a person.
  35. to start or move suddenly into (vigorous movement): The horse struck a gallop.
  36. to assume (an attitude or posture): He likes to strike a noble pose.
  37. to cause (chill, warmth, etc.) to pass or penetrate quickly.
  38. to come upon or reach in traveling or in a course of procedure: We struck Rome before dark.
  39. to make, conclude, or ratify (an agreement, treaty, etc.).
  40. to estimate or determine (a mean or average).
  41. to leave off (work) or stop (working) as a coercive measure, or as at the close of the day.
  42. (of a union or union member)
    1. to declare or engage in a suspension of (work) until an employer grants certain demands, such as pay increases, an improved pension plan, etc.
    2. to declare or engage in a suspension of work against (a factory, employer, industry, etc.) until certain demands are met.
  43. to draw (a straight line); paint the edge of an area with (a regular, usually straight line).
  44. Law. to choose (a jury) from a panel by striking off names until only the required number remains.

verb (used without object), struck or (Obsolete) strook, strik·ing.

  1. to deal or aim a blow or stroke, as with the fist, a weapon, or a hammer.
  2. to make an attack, especially a planned military assault: Our troops struck at dawn.
  3. to knock, rap, or tap.
  4. to hit or dash on or against something, as a moving body does; come into forcible contact; collide.
  5. to run upon a bank, rock, or other obstacle, as a ship does.
  6. to fall, as light or sound does (followed by on or upon).
  7. to make an impression on the mind, senses, etc., as something seen or heard.
  8. to come suddenly or unexpectedly (usually followed by on or upon): to strike on a new way of doing a thing.
  9. to sound by percussion: The clock strikes.
  10. to be indicated by or as by such percussion: The hour has struck.
  11. to ignite or be ignited by friction, as a match.
  12. to make a stroke, as with the arms or legs in swimming or with an oar in rowing.
  13. to produce a sound, music, etc., by touching a string or playing upon an instrument.
  14. to take root, as a slip of a plant.
  15. to go, proceed, or advance, especially in a new direction: They struck out at dawn. They struck toward a new town.
    1. U.S. Army.to act as a voluntary paid servant to a commissioned officer.
    2. U.S. Navy.to work hard: strive (followed by for): He is striking for yeoman.
  16. (of a union or union member) to engage in a suspension of work until an employer or industry meets certain demands.
  17. Nautical.
    1. to lower the flag or colors, especially as a salute or as a sign of surrender.
    2. to run up the white flag of surrender.
  18. Angling. (of fish) to swallow or take the bait.


  1. an act or instance of striking.
  2. a concerted stopping of work or withdrawal of workers’ services, as to compel an employer to accede to workers’ demands or in protest against terms or conditions imposed by an employer.
  3. a temporary stoppage of something.
  4. Also called strike plate. a metal plate on a jamb holding the bolt of the lock on a door when closed.
  5. Baseball.
    1. a pitch that is swung at and missed by the batter.
    2. a pitch that passes through the strike zone and is not swung at by the batter.
    3. a foul tip caught by the catcher when there are already two strikes against the batter.
    4. a foul bunt when there are already two strikes against the batter.
    5. a ball hit foul and not caught on the fly when there are less than two strikes against the batter.
  6. Bowling.
    1. the knocking down of all of the pins with the first bowl.
    2. the score so made.Compare spare(def 22).
  7. Horology. the striking mechanism of a timepiece.
  8. Brewing. the degree of excellence or strength of beer, ale, etc.
  9. Angling.
    1. a sharp jerk on the line, made in order to set the hook in the mouth of the fish.
    2. a pull on the line, made by the fish in the process of taking the bait.
  10. Coining. a quantity of coins struck at one time.
  11. Geology.
    1. the direction of the line formed by the intersection of the bedding plane of a bed or stratum of sedimentary rock with a horizontal plane.
    2. the direction or trend of a structural feature, as an anticlinal axis or the lineation resulting from metamorphism.
  12. the discovery of a rich vein or ore in mining, of petroleum in boring, etc.
  13. Military. a planned attack, especially by aircraft, on a target.


  1. Military. describing a fighter-bomber aircraft designed to carry large payloads at high speeds and low altitudes and also to engage in air-to-air combat.

Verb Phrases

  1. strike in, to interrupt suddenly; intervene: I struck in with a suggestion.
  2. strike off,
    1. Printing.to print: They struck off 300 copies of the book.
    2. to remove or cancel, as from a record, list, etc.: His name was struck off the waiting list.
    3. to produce rapidly and easily: She struck off several letters and had no more work to do.
    4. to depart rapidly: We struck off for the country.
  3. strike out,
    1. Baseball.to put out or be put out by a strike-out: The pitcher walked two and struck out three. He struck out twice in three times at bat.
    2. (of a person or effort) to fail: His next two business ventures struck out.
    3. to lose favor.
    4. to erase; cross out.
    5. to set forth; venture forth: She struck out on her own at the age of 18.
  4. strike up,
    1. to begin to play or to sing: The orchestra struck up a waltz.
    2. to set in operation; begin: Strike up the band!
    3. to bring into being; commence; begin: to strike up an acquaintance with new neighbors.


  1. have two strikes against one, to be in an unfavorable or a critical position: His age and his lack of education are two strikes against him in his search for a job.
  2. on strike, engaged in a stoppage of work, services, or other activities, as by union workers to get better wages.
  3. strike camp, to dismantle and pack up equipment; prepare to move on; break camp: The army struck camp and moved on.
  4. strike hands, to conclude a bargain, as by shaking or joining hands; confirm an agreement: They reached a price satisfactory to both of them, and struck hands on it.
  5. strike home,
    1. to deal an effective blow, hit a vulnerable part, or wound critically or mortally: The second arrow struck home.
    2. to have the intended effect; hit the mark: The sermon on Christian charity struck home.
  6. strike it rich,
    1. to come upon a valuable mineral or oil deposit.
    2. to have sudden or unexpected financial success: She struck it rich in real estate.
  7. strike oil. oil(def 18).

verb strikes, striking or struck

  1. to deliver (a blow or stroke) to (a person)
  2. to come or cause to come into sudden or violent contact (with)
  3. (tr) to make an attack on
  4. to produce (fire, sparks, etc) or (of fire, sparks, etc) to be produced by ignition
  5. to cause (a match) to light by friction or (of a match) to be lighted
  6. to press (the key of a piano, organ, etc) or to sound (a specific note) in this or a similar way
  7. to indicate (a specific time) by the sound of a hammer striking a bell or by any other percussive sound
  8. (of a venomous snake) to cause injury by biting
  9. (tr) to affect or cause to affect deeply, suddenly, or radically, as if by dealing a blowher appearance struck him as strange; I was struck on his art
  10. past participle struck or stricken (tr; passive usually foll by with) to render incapable or nearly soshe was stricken with grief
  11. (tr) to enter the mind ofit struck me that he had become very quiet
  12. past participle struck or stricken to renderI was struck dumb
  13. (tr) to be perceived by; catchthe glint of metal struck his eye
  14. to arrive at or come upon (something), esp suddenly or unexpectedlyto strike the path for home; to strike upon a solution
  15. (intr sometimes foll by out) to set (out) or proceed, esp upon a new courseto strike for the coast
  16. (tr; usually passive) to afflict with a disease, esp unexpectedlyhe was struck with polio when he was six
  17. (tr) to discover or come upon a source of (ore, petroleum, etc)
  18. (tr) (of a plant) to produce or send down (a root or roots)
  19. (tr) to take apart or pack up; break (esp in the phrase strike camp)
  20. (tr) to take down or dismantle (a stage set, formwork, etc)
  21. (tr) nautical
    1. to lower or remove (a specified piece of gear)
    2. to haul down or dip (a flag, sail, etc) in salute or in surrender
    3. to lower (cargo, etc) into the hold of a ship
  22. to attack (an objective) with the intention of causing damage to, seizing, or destroying it
  23. to impale the hook in the mouth of (a fish) by suddenly tightening or jerking the line after the bait or fly has been taken
  24. (tr) to form or impress (a coin, metal, etc) by or as if by stamping
  25. to level (a surface) by use of a flat board
  26. (tr) to assume or take up (an attitude, posture, etc)
  27. (intr) (of workers in a factory, etc) to cease work collectively as a protest against working conditions, low pay, etc
  28. (tr) to reach by agreementto strike a bargain
  29. (tr) to form (a jury, esp a special jury) by cancelling certain names among those nominated for jury service until only the requisite number remainsSee also special jury
  30. (tr) rowing to make (a certain number of strokes) per minuteOxford were striking 38
  31. to make a stroke or kick in swimming
  32. (tr) (in Malaysia) to win (a lottery or raffle)
  33. strike home
    1. to deliver an effective blow
    2. to achieve the intended effect
  34. strike it lucky or strike lucky to have some good luck
  35. strike it rich informal
    1. to discover an extensive deposit of a mineral, petroleum, etc
    2. to have an unexpected financial success


  1. an act or instance of striking
  2. a cessation of work by workers in a factory, industry, etc, as a protest against working conditions or low paythe workers are on strike again
  3. a military attack, esp an air attack on a surface targetair strike
  4. baseball a pitched ball judged good but missed or not swung at, three of which cause a batter to be out
  5. Also called: ten-strike tenpin bowling
    1. the act or an instance of knocking down all the pins with the first bowl of a single frame
    2. the score thus madeCompare spare (def. 17)
  6. a sound made by striking
  7. the mechanism that makes a clock strike
  8. the discovery of a source of ore, petroleum, etc
  9. the horizontal direction of a fault, rock stratum, etc, which is perpendicular to the direction of the dip
  10. angling the act or an instance of striking
  11. the number of coins or medals made at one time
  12. another name for strickle (def. 1)
  13. informal an unexpected or complete success, esp one that brings financial gain
  14. take strike cricket (of a batsman) to prepare to play a ball delivered by the bowler

v.Old English strican “pass over lightly, stroke, smooth, rub,” also “go, proceed” (past tense strac, past participle stricen), from Proto-Germanic *strik- (cf. Old Norse strykva “to stroke,” Old Frisian strika, Middle Dutch streken, Dutch strijken “to smooth, stroke, rub,” Old High German strihhan, German streichen), from PIE root *str(e)ig- “to stroke, rub, press” (see strigil). Related to streak and stroke, and perhaps influenced in sense development by cognate Old Norse striuka. Sense of “to deal a blow” developed by early 14c.; meaning “to collide” is from mid-14c.; that of “to hit with a missile” is from late 14c. Meaning “to cancel or expunge” (as with the stroke of a pen) is attested from late 14c. An older sense is preserved in strike for “go toward.” n.“concentrated cessation of work by a body of employees,” 1810, from verb meaning “refuse to work to force an employer to meet demands” (1768), from strike (v.). Perhaps from notion of striking or “downing” one’s tools, or from sailors’ practice of striking (lowering) a ship’s sails as a symbol of refusal to go to sea (1768), which preserves the verb’s original sense of “make level, smooth.” Baseball sense is first recorded 1841, originally meaning any contact with the ball; modern sense developed by 1890s, apparently from foul strike, which counted against the batter, and as hit came to be used for “contact with the ball” this word was left for “swing and a miss” that counts against the batter. Bowling sense attested from 1859. Meaning “sudden military attack” is attested from 1942.

  1. The course or bearing of a structural surface, such as an inclined bed or a fault plane, as it intersects a horizontal plane. See illustration at dip.

A concerted refusal by employees in a particular business or industry to work. Its goal is usually to force employers to meet demands respecting wages and other working conditions. In addition to the idioms beginning with strike

  • strike a balance
  • strike a bargain
  • strike a chord
  • strike a happy medium
  • strike down
  • strike it rich
  • strike out
  • strike the right note
  • strike while the iron is hot
  • also see:

  • go out (on strike)
  • happy medium, strike a
  • lightning never strikes twice
  • on strike
  • two strikes against
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