Date: 1200-1300
Origin: Probably from an unrecorded Old English strac


1 noun
stroke1 S3 [countable]


MI if someone has a stroke, an artery (=tube carrying blood) in their brain suddenly bursts or becomes blocked, so that they may die or be unable to use some muscles:
She died following a massive stroke.
have/suffer a stroke
I looked after my father after he had a stroke.
a stroke patient


a) DSS one of a set of movements in swimming or rowing in which you move your arms or the oar forward and then back:
She swam with strong steady strokes.
b) DSSDSO a style of swimming or rowing:
the breast stroke


DS the action of hitting the ball in games such as tennis, golf, and cricket:
a backhand stroke


a) AV a single movement of a pen or brush when you are writing or painting:
A few strokes of her pen brought out his features clearly.
b) AV a line made by a pen or brush:
the thick downward strokes of the characters

at a/one stroke

with a single sudden action:
At one stroke the country lost two outstanding leaders.

on the stroke of seven/nine etc

at exactly seven o'clock etc:
She arrived home on the stroke of midnight.
The only goal of the match came on the stroke of half-time.

stroke of luck/fortune

something lucky that happens to you unexpectedly:
In a stroke of luck, a suitable organ donor became available.

stroke of genius/inspiration etc

a very good idea about what to do to solve a problem:
It was a stroke of genius to film the movie in Toronto.


an action of hitting someone with something such as a whip or thin stick:
He cried out at each stroke of the whip.

a movement of your hand

a gentle movement of your hand over something:
I gave her hair a gentle stroke.

with/at a stroke of the pen

if someone in authority does something with a stroke of the pen, they sign an official document to make a decision with important and serious results:
He had the power to order troops home with a stroke of his pen.

not do a stroke (of work)

British English informal to not do any work at all

stroke of lightning

HEM a bright flash of lightning, especially one that hits something


a single sound made by a clock giving the hours, or by a bell, gong etc

put somebody off their stroke

British English informal to make someone stop giving all their attention to what they are doing:
Seeing Frank watching me put me off my stroke.

in numbers

British EnglishHMN used when you are saying a number written with the mark (/) in it [= slash]:
The serial number is seventeen stroke one. (=17/1)

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