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[streek] /strik/
a long, narrow mark, smear, band of color, or the like:
streaks of mud.
a portion or layer of something, distinguished by color or nature from the rest; a vein or stratum:
streaks of fat in meat.
a vein, strain, or admixture of anything:
a streak of humor.
  1. a spell or run:
    a streak of good luck.
  2. an uninterrupted series:
    The team had a losing streak of ten games.
a flash leaving a visible line or aftereffect, as of lightning; bolt.
Mineralogy. the line of powder obtained by scratching a mineral or rubbing it upon a hard, rough white surface, often differing in color from the mineral in the mass, and serving as an important distinguishing character.
Plant Pathology.
  1. an elongated, narrow, superficial lesion on stems or leaf veins, becoming brown and necrotic.
  2. any disease characterized by such lesions.
verb (used with object)
to mark with a streak or streaks; form streaks on:
sunlight streaking the water with gold; frost streaking the windows.
to lighten or color (strands of hair) for contrastive effect.
to dispose, arrange, smear, spread, etc., in the form of a streak or streaks:
to streak cold germs on a slide for microscopic study.
verb (used without object)
to become streaked.
to run, go, or work rapidly.
to flash, as lightning.
to make a sudden dash in public while naked, especially as a prank.
blue streak. blue streak.
Origin of streak
before 1000; (noun) Middle English streke, akin to strike, Old English strica stroke, line, mark; cognate with German Strich, Gothic striks stroke, Latin strigil strigil; (v.) late Middle English streken to cross out, derivative of the noun (akin to strike, stroke1)
Related forms
[streekt-lee, stree-kid-lee] /ˈstrikt li, ˈstri kɪd li/ (Show IPA),
streakedness, noun
streaker, noun
streaklike, adjective
interstreak, verb (used with object)
unstreaked, adjective
3. cast, touch, element, trace. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for streaking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Dawn was streaking the sky with lemon when a dog jumped sniffing down into our hiding-place.

    The Man with the Clubfoot Valentine Williams
  • All the wood has gone and the winds are streaking the ashes.

  • At length, just as the gray light of the morning was streaking the skies, we came in sight of the majestic James river.

    Three Years in the Sixth Corps George T. Stevens
  • He kissed her again and whirled the boat about and sent it streaking for the mainland.

    Attention Saint Patrick William Fitzgerald Jenkins
  • Something was streaking across the cloud formation far, far ahead.

    Space Platform Murray Leinster
  • They answered that challenge from the camp, streaking out from under his hands.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
  • Across the campus toward Vanderbilt, Allison and the last Bones man, in tandem, were streaking like water insects.

    Stover at Yale Owen Johnson
  • I saw her streaking it up the street as soon as the trolley stopped.

    Rosemary Josephine Lawrence
  • Stan looked and saw that Allison was streaking away toward a formation of nine Junkers Ju 87's.

    A Yankee Flier with the R.A.F. Rutherford G. Montgomery
British Dictionary definitions for streaking


an act or instance of running naked through a public place
(television) light or dark streaks to the right of a bright object in a television picture, caused by distortion in the transmission chain


a long thin mark, stripe, or trace of some contrasting colour
  1. (of lightning) a sudden flash
  2. (as modifier): streak lightning
an element or trace, as of some quality or characteristic
a strip, vein, or layer: fatty streaks
a short stretch or run, esp of good or bad luck
(mineralogy) the powdery mark made by a mineral when rubbed on a hard or rough surface: its colour is an important distinguishing characteristic
(bacteriol) the inoculation of a solid culture medium by drawing a wire contaminated with the microorganisms across it
(informal) an act or the practice of running naked through a public place
(transitive) to mark or daub with a streak or streaks
(intransitive) to form streaks or become streaked
(intransitive) to move rapidly in a straight line
(intransitive) (informal) to run naked through a crowd of people in a public place in order to shock or amuse them
Derived Forms
streaked, adjective
streaker, noun
streaklike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English strica, related to Old Frisian strike, Old High German strih, Norwegian, Swedish strika


a variant spelling of strake (sense 2)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for streaking



Old English strica "line of motion, stroke of a pen" (related to strican "pass over lightly," see strike), from Proto-Germanic *strikon (cf. Middle Low German streke "stroke, line," Old High German, German strich, Gothic striks "stroke, line"), from PIE root *streig- (see strigil). Sense of "long, thin mark" is first found 1567. Meaning "a temporary run (of luck)" is from 1843.


1768, "to go quickly, to rush, run at full speed," respelling (by association with streak (n.)) of streek "to go quickly" (late 14c.), originally "to stretch oneself" (mid-13c.), a northern Middle English variant of stretch (v.). Streaking "running naked in public" first recorded 1973.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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streaking in Medicine

streak (strēk)
A line, stripe, smear, or band differentiated by color or texture from its surroundings.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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streaking in Science
  1. The characteristic color of a mineral after it has been ground into a powder. Because the streak of a mineral is not always the same as its natural color, it is a useful tool in mineral identification.

  2. A bacterial culture inoculated by drawing a bacteria-laden needle across the surface of a solid culture medium. Also called streak plate.

  3. Any of various viral diseases of plants characterized by the appearance of discolored stripes on the leaves or stems.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for streaking



: The students did a streak across the square


To run naked in public (1973+)

Related Terms

a blue streak

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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Idioms and Phrases with streaking
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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