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See more synonyms for stripe on Thesaurus.com
  1. a relatively long, narrow band of a different color, appearance, weave, material, or nature from the rest of a surface or thing: the stripes of a zebra.
  2. a fabric or material containing such a band or bands.
  3. a strip of braid, tape, or the like.
  4. stripes,
    1. a number or combination of such strips, worn on a military, naval, or other uniform as a badge of rank, service, good conduct, combat wounds, etc.
    2. Informal.status or recognition as a result of one's efforts, experience, or achievements: She earned her stripes as a traveling sales representative and then moved up to district manager.
  5. a strip, or long, narrow piece of anything: a stripe of beach.
  6. a streak or layer of a different nature within a substance.
  7. style, variety, sort, or kind: a man of quite a different stripe.
  8. Also called magnetic stripe. Movies. a strip of iron oxide layer on the edge of a film that is used for recording and reproducing a magnetic sound track.
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verb (used with object), striped, strip·ing.
  1. to mark or furnish with a stripe or stripes.
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Origin of stripe1

1620–30; < Middle Dutch or Middle Low German strīpe; see strip2, stripe2
Related formsstripe·less, adjective


  1. a stroke with a whip, rod, etc., as in punishment.
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Origin of stripe2

1400–50; late Middle English; obscurely akin to stripe1

magnetic strip

  1. a strip of magnetic material on which information may be stored, as by an electromagnetic process, for automatic reading, decoding, or recognition by a device that detects magnetic variations on the strip: a credit card with a magnetic strip to prevent counterfeiting.
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Also called magnetic stripe, stripes.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

ribbon, streak, division, layer, rule, decoration, band, stroke, fillet, bar, border, striation

Examples from the Web for stripes

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • There was black-and-white paint on his body; the stripes of the Koshare do not come off easily.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • Billy is out of the hospital and wearing my old sergeant's stripes.

    Arm of the Law

    Harry Harrison

  • Here, in the bush, all our tools come from the land of the Stars and Stripes.

  • I found these specimens in the same locality with the B. stripes.

  • From the top the stars and stripes had been broken to the breeze.

    The Solar Magnet

    Sterner St. Paul Meek

British Dictionary definitions for stripes


  1. a relatively long band of distinctive colour or texture that differs from the surrounding material or background
  2. a fabric having such bands
  3. a strip, band, or chevron of fabric worn on a military uniform, etc, esp one that indicates rank
  4. mainly US and Canadian kind; sort; typea man of a certain stripe
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  1. (tr) to mark with a stripe or stripes
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Word Origin

C17: probably from Middle Dutch strīpe; related to Middle High German strīfe, of obscure origin


  1. a stroke from a whip, rod, cane, etc
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Word Origin

C15: perhaps from Middle Low German strippe; related to stripe 1
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 stripes



"a line or band in cloth," 1620s (but probably much older), from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German stripe "stripe, streak," from Proto-Germanic *stripanan (cf. Danish stribe "a striped fabric," German Streifen "stripe"), cognate with Old Irish sriab "stripe," from PIE root *streig- (see strigil). Of soldiers' chevrons, badges, etc., attested from 1827.

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"a stroke or lash," mid-15c., probably a special use of stripe (n.1), from the marks left by a lash. Cf. also Dutch strippen "to whip," West Frisian strips, apparently cognate but not attested as early as the English word.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper