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[grok] /grɒk/ Slang.
verb (used with object)
to understand thoroughly and intuitively.
verb (used without object)
to communicate sympathetically.
Origin of grok
coined by Robert A. Heinlein in the science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Word Origin and History for grok

"to understand empathically," 1961, arbitrary formation by U.S. science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) in his book "Stranger in a Strange Land." In popular use 1960s; perhaps obsolete now except in internet technology circles.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for grok



  1. To communicate sympathetically: all rapping and grokking over the sound it made/ All the Romans grokked like Greeks (1961+ Counterculture & students)
  2. (also grok on) To get into exquisite sympathy with: She met him at an acid-rock ball and she grokked him/ The Handbook of Highway Engineering, they totally grokked on it (1961+ Counterculture & students)
  3. To understand: You've come to grok that Cronenberg's narrative is merely the pretense for his imagery (1980s+ Computer)

[coined by Robert A Heinlein as a Martian word in the 1961 science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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grok in Technology

/grok/, /grohk/ (From the novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein, where it is a Martian word meaning literally "to drink" and metaphorically "to be one with")
1. To understand, usually in a global sense. Connotes intimate and exhaustive knowledge.
Contrast zen, which is similar supernal understanding experienced as a single brief flash. See also glark.
2. Used of programs, may connote merely sufficient understanding. "Almost all C compilers grok the "void" type these days."
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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