have two strikes against one, to be in an unfavorable or a critical position: His age and his lack of education are two strikes against him in his search for a job.
    on strike, engaged in a stoppage of work, services, or other activities, as by union workers to get better wages.
    strike camp, to dismantle and pack up equipment; prepare to move on; break camp: The army struck camp and moved on.
    strike hands, to conclude a bargain, as by shaking or joining hands; confirm an agreement: They reached a price satisfactory to both of them, and struck hands on it.
    strike home,
    1. to deal an effective blow, hit a vulnerable part, or wound critically or mortally: The second arrow struck home.
    2. to have the intended effect; hit the mark: The sermon on Christian charity struck home.
    strike it rich,
    1. to come upon a valuable mineral or oil deposit.
    2. to have sudden or unexpected financial success: She struck it rich in real estate.
    strike oil. oil(def 18).

Origin of strike

before 1000; 1768 for def 65; (v.) Middle English striken to stroke, beat, cross out, Old English strīcan to stroke, make level; cognate with German streichen; (noun) Middle English: unit of dry measure (i.e., something leveled off; see strick), derivative of the v.; akin to streak, stroke1
Related formsstrike·less, adjectivean·ti·strike, adjectivenon·strike, adjectiveout·strike, verb (used with object), out·struck, out·struck or out·strick·en, out·strik··strike, adjectivepre·strike, adjective, verb, pre·struck, pre·struck or pre·strick·en, pre·strik··strike, adjectiveun·der·strike, verb (used with object), un·der·struck, un·der·struck or un·der·strick·en, un·der·strik·ing.

Synonym study

1. Strike, hit, knock imply suddenly bringing one body in contact with another. Strike suggests such an action in a general way: to strike a child. Hit is less formal than strike, and often implies giving a single blow, but usually a strong one and definitely aimed: to hit a baseball. To knock is to strike, often with a tendency to displace the object struck; it also means to strike repeatedly: to knock someone down; to knock at a door. See also beat.

Antonyms for strike

1. miss. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for strike

Contemporary Examples of strike

Historical Examples of strike

British Dictionary definitions for strike


verb strikes, striking or struck

to deliver (a blow or stroke) to (a person)
to come or cause to come into sudden or violent contact (with)
(tr) to make an attack on
to produce (fire, sparks, etc) or (of fire, sparks, etc) to be produced by ignition
to cause (a match) to light by friction or (of a match) to be lighted
to press (the key of a piano, organ, etc) or to sound (a specific note) in this or a similar way
to indicate (a specific time) by the sound of a hammer striking a bell or by any other percussive sound
(of a venomous snake) to cause injury by biting
(tr) to affect or cause to affect deeply, suddenly, or radically, as if by dealing a blowher appearance struck him as strange; I was struck on his art
past participle struck or stricken (tr; passive usually foll by with) to render incapable or nearly soshe was stricken with grief
(tr) to enter the mind ofit struck me that he had become very quiet
past participle struck or stricken to renderI was struck dumb
(tr) to be perceived by; catchthe glint of metal struck his eye
to arrive at or come upon (something), esp suddenly or unexpectedlyto strike the path for home; to strike upon a solution
(intr sometimes foll by out) to set (out) or proceed, esp upon a new courseto strike for the coast
(tr; usually passive) to afflict with a disease, esp unexpectedlyhe was struck with polio when he was six
(tr) to discover or come upon a source of (ore, petroleum, etc)
(tr) (of a plant) to produce or send down (a root or roots)
(tr) to take apart or pack up; break (esp in the phrase strike camp)
(tr) to take down or dismantle (a stage set, formwork, etc)
(tr) nautical
  1. to lower or remove (a specified piece of gear)
  2. to haul down or dip (a flag, sail, etc) in salute or in surrender
  3. to lower (cargo, etc) into the hold of a ship
to attack (an objective) with the intention of causing damage to, seizing, or destroying it
to impale the hook in the mouth of (a fish) by suddenly tightening or jerking the line after the bait or fly has been taken
(tr) to form or impress (a coin, metal, etc) by or as if by stamping
to level (a surface) by use of a flat board
(tr) to assume or take up (an attitude, posture, etc)
(intr) (of workers in a factory, etc) to cease work collectively as a protest against working conditions, low pay, etc
(tr) to reach by agreementto strike a bargain
(tr) to form (a jury, esp a special jury) by cancelling certain names among those nominated for jury service until only the requisite number remainsSee also special jury
(tr) rowing to make (a certain number of strokes) per minuteOxford were striking 38
to make a stroke or kick in swimming
(tr) (in Malaysia) to win (a lottery or raffle)
strike home
  1. to deliver an effective blow
  2. to achieve the intended effect
strike it lucky or strike lucky to have some good luck
strike it rich informal
  1. to discover an extensive deposit of a mineral, petroleum, etc
  2. to have an unexpected financial success


an act or instance of striking
a cessation of work by workers in a factory, industry, etc, as a protest against working conditions or low paythe workers are on strike again
a military attack, esp an air attack on a surface targetair strike
baseball a pitched ball judged good but missed or not swung at, three of which cause a batter to be out
Also called: ten-strike tenpin bowling
  1. the act or an instance of knocking down all the pins with the first bowl of a single frame
  2. the score thus madeCompare spare (def. 17)
a sound made by striking
the mechanism that makes a clock strike
the discovery of a source of ore, petroleum, etc
the horizontal direction of a fault, rock stratum, etc, which is perpendicular to the direction of the dip
angling the act or an instance of striking
the number of coins or medals made at one time
another name for strickle (def. 1)
informal an unexpected or complete success, esp one that brings financial gain
take strike cricket (of a batsman) to prepare to play a ball delivered by the bowler
Derived Formsstrikeless, adjective

Word Origin for strike

Old English strīcan; related to Old Frisian strīka to stroke, Old High German strīhhan to smooth, Latin stria furrow
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 strike

Old English strican "pass over lightly, stroke, smooth, rub," also "go, proceed" (past tense strac, past participle stricen), from Proto-Germanic *strik- (cf. Old Norse strykva "to stroke," Old Frisian strika, Middle Dutch streken, Dutch strijken "to smooth, stroke, rub," Old High German strihhan, German streichen), from PIE root *str(e)ig- "to stroke, rub, press" (see strigil).

Related to streak and stroke, and perhaps influenced in sense development by cognate Old Norse striuka. Sense of "to deal a blow" developed by early 14c.; meaning "to collide" is from mid-14c.; that of "to hit with a missile" is from late 14c. Meaning "to cancel or expunge" (as with the stroke of a pen) is attested from late 14c. An older sense is preserved in strike for "go toward."


"concentrated cessation of work by a body of employees," 1810, from verb meaning "refuse to work to force an employer to meet demands" (1768), from strike (v.). Perhaps from notion of striking or "downing" one's tools, or from sailors' practice of striking (lowering) a ship's sails as a symbol of refusal to go to sea (1768), which preserves the verb's original sense of "make level, smooth."

Baseball sense is first recorded 1841, originally meaning any contact with the ball; modern sense developed by 1890s, apparently from foul strike, which counted against the batter, and as hit came to be used for "contact with the ball" this word was left for "swing and a miss" that counts against the batter. Bowling sense attested from 1859. Meaning "sudden military attack" is attested from 1942.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

strike in Science



The course or bearing of a structural surface, such as an inclined bed or a fault plane, as it intersects a horizontal plane. See illustration at dip.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

strike in Culture


A concerted refusal by employees in a particular business or industry to work. Its goal is usually to force employers to meet demands respecting wages and other working conditions.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with strike


In addition to the idioms beginning with strike

  • strike a balance
  • strike a bargain
  • strike a chord
  • strike a happy medium
  • strike down
  • strike it rich
  • strike out
  • strike the right note
  • strike while the iron is hot

also see:

  • go out (on strike)
  • happy medium, strike a
  • lightning never strikes twice
  • on strike
  • two strikes against
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.