Language: Old English
Origin: strican 'to touch lightly, go'


1 verb
strike1 S3 W3 past tense and past participle struck


[transitive] written to hit or fall against the surface of something:
She fell heavily, striking her head against the side of the boat.
A snowball struck him on the back of the head.
Several cars were struck by falling trees.
The last rays of the setting sun struck the garden windows.
! In spoken and ordinary written English it is much more usual to use hit.

hit with hand/weapon etc

[transitive] formal to deliberately hit someone or something with your hand or a weapon:
She struck him hard across the face.
strike something with something
The victim had been struck with some kind of wooden implement.
Paul struck him a blow to the head.
The assassin's bullet struck home (=hit exactly where it should).


[transitive not in progressive] if something strikes you, you think of it, notice it, or realize that it is important, interesting, true etc:
A rather worrying thought struck me.
The first thing that struck me was the fact that there were no other women present.
it strikes somebody that
It struck her that losing the company might be the least of her worries.
be struck by something
You can't help being struck by her kindness.

strike somebody as (being) something

to seem to have a particular quality or feature:
His jokes didn't strike Jack as being very funny.
it strikes somebody as strange/odd etc that
It struck me as odd that the man didn't introduce himself before he spoke.

stop work

[intransitive] if a group of workers strike, they stop working as a protest against something relating to their work, for example how much they are paid, bad working conditions etc:
In many countries, the police are forbidden to strike.
strike for
They're striking for the right to have their trade union recognized in law.


[intransitive] to attack someone, especially suddenly:
The killer might strike again.
Guerrillas struck a U.N. camp, killing 75.
Opponents of the war say that civilian villages have been struck several times.


[transitive] to damage or harm someone or something
strike at
The law would strike at the most basic of civil rights.
Such prejudices strike right at the heart of any notions of a civilized society.
strike a blow at/against/to something
The scandal seemed to have struck a mortal blow to the government's chances of re-election.

something bad happens

[intransitive and transitive] if something bad strikes, it suddenly happens or suddenly begins to affect someone:
The plague struck again for the third time that century.
Everything seemed to be going fine when suddenly disaster struck.

strike a balance (between something)

to give the correct amount of importance or attention to two separate things:
He was finding it difficult to strike a balance between his family and his work.
It isn't always easy to strike the right balance.

strike a bargain/deal

to agree to do something for someone if they do something for you:
There are rumors that the president struck a private deal with the corporation's chairman.

strike a happy/cheerful/cautious etc note

to express a particular feeling or attitude:
The article struck a conciliatory note.
Moderate Republicanism appeared to strike exactly the right note with the voters (=be what the people wanted).

strike a chord

to say or do something that other people agree with or have sympathy with
strike a chord with
Their story is bound to strike a chord with all parents.

strike a match

to produce a flame from a match by rubbing it hard across a rough surface

strike gold/oil etc

a) to find a supply of gold, oil etc in the ground or under the sea:
If they strike oil, drilling will begin early next year.

strike gold

to do something that makes you a lot of money:
Jackie eventually struck gold with her third novel.


[intransitive and transitive] if lightning strikes something, it hits and damages it:
The temple burned down after it was struck by lightning last year.

➔ lightning never strikes twice

at lightning1

strike a blow for somebody/something

to do something to help achieve a principle or aim:
It's time we struck a blow for women's rights.

be within striking distance

a) to be close enough to reach a place easily:
By now they were within striking distance of the shore.
b) to be very close to achieving something:
The French team are within striking distance of the world record.

strike it rich

to suddenly make a lot of money

strike it lucky

British English to be very lucky, especially when you were not expecting to:
We struck it lucky in Bangkok, where we were told there were some extra seats on the plane that night.


[intransitive and transitive] if a clock strikes one, two, six etc, its bell makes a sound once, twice, six times etc according to what time it is:
The church clock began to strike twelve.
strike the hour (=strike when it is exactly one o'clock, two o'clock etc)

gain advantage

[intransitive] to do something that gives you an advantage over your opponent in a fight, competition etc:
Brazil struck first with a goal in the third minute.

strike home

if something that you say strikes home, it has exactly the effect on someone that you intended:
She saw the emotion in her father's face and knew her words had struck home.

strike terror/fear into somebody's heart

to make someone feel very frightened:
The word 'cancer' still strikes terror into many hearts.

strike a pose/attitude

to stand or sit with your body in a particular position:
Malcolm struck his usual pose: hands in pockets, shoulders hunched.

be struck dumb

to suddenly be unable to talk, usually because you are very surprised or shocked dumbstruck

be struck with horror/terror/awe etc

to suddenly feel very afraid, shocked etc:
As she began to speak to him, she was struck with shyness.

strike while the iron is hot

to do something immediately rather than waiting until a later time when you are less likely to succeed

strike somebody dead

to kill someone:
May God strike me dead if I'm telling a lie!

strike back

phrasal verb
to attack or criticize someone who attacked or criticized you first:
We instruct our staff never to strike back however angry they feel.
strike back at
The prime minister immediately struck back at his critics.

strike somebody ↔ down

phrasal verb
1 [usually passive] to kill someone or make them extremely ill:
Over 50 nurses at the clinic have been struck down with a mystery virus.
They would rob the bodies of those struck down in battle.
2 formal to hit someone so hard that they fall down
3 law to say that a law, decision etc is illegal and officially end it

strike somebody/something ↔ off

phrasal verb

be struck off

British English if a doctor, lawyer etc is struck off, their name is removed from the official list of people who are allowed to work as doctors, lawyers etc
2 to remove someone or something from a list:
Terri was told to strike off the names of every person older than 30.

strike on/upon something

phrasal verb
formal to discover something or have a good idea about something

➔ be struck on somebody/something

at struck2

strike out

phrasal verb
1 to attack or criticize someone suddenly or violently
strike out at
Unhappy young people will often strike out at the people closest to them.

strike something ↔ out

to draw a line through something written on a piece of paper
3 [always + adverb/preposition] to start walking or swimming in a particular direction, especially in a determined way:
She struck out for the side of the pool.

strike out on your own

to start doing something or living independently
5DSB to not hit the ball in baseball three times, so that you are not allowed to continue trying, or to make someone do this
strike somebody ↔ out
He struck out the first batter he faced.
6 American English informal to not be successful at something:
'Did she say she'd go out with you?' 'No, I struck out.'

strike something ↔ out

law to say officially that something cannot be considered as proof in a court of law

strike up

phrasal verb

strike up a friendship/relationship/conversation etc

to start to become friendly with someone, to start talking to them, etc:
I struck up a conversation with the girl sitting next to me.

strike up (something)

APM to begin playing a piece of music:
The band struck up a tango.
with your fist: punch, thump, bash

with your open hand as a punishment: smack, spank, slap

with a hammer: bang, hammer

in order to get attention: bang, knock, tap, hammer

accidentally: bump into, crash into, strike, bang, knock, collide (with)

See also

Dictionary results for "strike"
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