[streyf, strahf]
See more synonyms for strafe on
verb (used with object), strafed, straf·ing.
  1. to attack (ground troops or installations) by airplanes with machine-gun fire.
  2. Slang. to reprimand viciously.
  1. a strafing attack.

Origin of strafe

First recorded in 1910–15, strafe is from the German word strafen to punish
Related formsstraf·er, nounun·strafed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for strafe

Historical Examples of strafe

British Dictionary definitions for strafe


verb (tr)
  1. to machine-gun (troops, etc) from the air
  2. slang to punish harshly
  1. an act or instance of strafing
Derived Formsstrafer, noun

Word Origin for strafe

C20: from German strafen to punish
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

Word Origin and History for strafe

1915, "punish, attack," picked up by British soldiers from German strafen "to punish" (from Proto-Germanic *stræf-), in slogan Gott strafe England "May God punish England," current in Germany c.1914-16 at the start of World War I. The word used for many kinds of attack at first; meaning "shoot up ground positions from low-flying aircraft" emerged as the main sense 1942. Related: Strafed; strafing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper