See more synonyms for streak on
  1. a long, narrow mark, smear, band of color, or the like: streaks of mud.
  2. a portion or layer of something, distinguished by color or nature from the rest; a vein or stratum: streaks of fat in meat.
  3. a vein, strain, or admixture of anything: a streak of humor.
  4. Informal.
    1. a spell or run: a streak of good luck.
    2. an uninterrupted series: The team had a losing streak of ten games.
  5. a flash leaving a visible line or aftereffect, as of lightning; bolt.
  6. 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.
  7. 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)
  1. to mark with a streak or streaks; form streaks on: sunlight streaking the water with gold; frost streaking the windows.
  2. to lighten or color (strands of hair) for contrastive effect.
  3. 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)
  1. to become streaked.
  2. to run, go, or work rapidly.
  3. to flash, as lightning.
  4. to make a sudden dash in public while naked, especially as a prank.
  1. 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 formsstreaked·ly [streekt-lee, stree-kid-lee] /ˈstrikt li, ˈstri kɪd li/, adverbstreaked·ness, nounstreak·er, nounstreak·like, adjectivein·ter·streak, verb (used with object)un·streaked, adjective

Synonyms for streak

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for streak

Contemporary Examples of streak

Historical Examples of streak

  • Now we'll see a ding-dong finish, if the Black doesn't show a streak of yellow.


    W. A. Fraser

  • With the first streak of day, the Doctor was up to reconnoitre the position of the enemy.

    The Field of Ice

    Jules Verne

  • They're not senseless brutes; they have a streak of man's intelligence.

    Under Arctic Ice

    H.G. Winter

  • She's good enough, I guess, and she can play the piano like a streak, but she's a fool.

    Cap'n Dan's Daughter

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • At length she became aware of a streak of light on the119 floor.

British Dictionary definitions for streak


  1. a long thin mark, stripe, or trace of some contrasting colour
    1. (of lightning) a sudden flash
    2. (as modifier)streak lightning
  2. an element or trace, as of some quality or characteristic
  3. a strip, vein, or layerfatty streaks
  4. a short stretch or run, esp of good or bad luck
  5. mineralogy the powdery mark made by a mineral when rubbed on a hard or rough surface: its colour is an important distinguishing characteristic
  6. bacteriol the inoculation of a solid culture medium by drawing a wire contaminated with the microorganisms across it
  7. informal an act or the practice of running naked through a public place
  1. (tr) to mark or daub with a streak or streaks
  2. (intr) to form streaks or become streaked
  3. (intr) to move rapidly in a straight line
  4. (intr) informal to run naked through a crowd of people in a public place in order to shock or amuse them
Derived Formsstreaked, adjectivestreaker, nounstreaklike, adjective

Word Origin for streak

Old English strica, related to Old Frisian strike, Old High German strih, Norwegian, Swedish strika


  1. a variant spelling of strake (def. 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

Word Origin and History for streak

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

streak in Medicine


  1. 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.

streak 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with streak


see like greased lightning (a blue streak); talk someone's arm off (a blue streak); winning streak.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.