Definition of strike in English:

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Pronunciation: /strʌɪk/

verb (past and past participle struck /strʌk/)

1 [with object] Hit forcibly and deliberately with one’s hand or a weapon or other implement: he raised his hand, as if to strike me one man was struck on the head with a stick [no object]: Ewan struck out at her
More example sentences
  • The veteran came leaping in, lashing out with his gigantic weapon, striking nothing.
  • With his two weapons he struck the unguarded shoulder of the creature.
  • But the bottom line is, that karate, allows you to use your hands and feet as weapons, and to strike much more quickly than you can with a sword.
bang, beat, hit, pound
informal bash, wallop
1.1Inflict (a blow): [with two objects]: he struck her two blows on the leg
More example sentences
  • Tonight, apparently, she has struck the death blow!
  • Maybe you miss once or twice, then you strike the death blow.
  • With that stone the brute had tried to strike the death blow.
hit, slap, smack, beat, thrash, spank, thump, thwack, punch, cuff, crack, swat, knock, rap;
cane, lash, whip, club, cudgel
Australian/New Zealand informal quilt
informal clout, wallop, belt, whack, bash, clobber, bop, biff, sock, deck, slug, plug, knock about/around, knock into the middle of next week, lay into, do over, rough up
literary smite
1.2Accidentally hit (a part of one’s body) against something: she fell, striking her head against the side of the boat
More example sentences
  • A Texas pathologist who received the original findings later suggested the woman died accidentally when she fell down the stair backwards and struck her head.
  • He fell backwards and struck his head on the pavement.
  • Witnesses told police they believed she was trying to slow the horse from an uncontrolled gallop when she fell, striking her head.
1.3Come into forcible contact or collision with: he was struck by a car in Whitepark Road
More example sentences
  • It could get struck by lightning or smashed up in your car.
  • The jet sped off the end of the runway, crossed a busy highway, and struck several cars before crashing into a warehouse.
  • Swerving to avoid an oncoming car, his vehicle struck the kerb, crashed backwards through the stone balustrade and plunged into the river.
crash into, collide with, be in collision with, hit, run into, knock into, bang into, bump into, smash into, slam into, crack into/against, dash against;
North American  impact
1.4(Of a beam or ray of light or heat) fall on (an object or surface): the light struck her ring, reflecting off the diamond
More example sentences
  • They're differences in the amount of light striking a surface, just as they are differences in the light reflected from the surface to the eye.
  • If the light striking a blue surface is predominantly blue, the blue object will appear almost white in a black and white photograph.
  • We have sought for such things and we believe that we have found them in the shaft of light striking the shimmering surface of solid rock.
1.5(In sporting contexts) hit or kick (a ball): he struck the ball into the back of the net
More example sentences
  • Stephenson had to kick the touchline conversion to claim the spoils and while he lost his footing as he struck the ball, his kick still went clean through the middle to end a superb cup tie of the highest order.
  • Both teams showed a lot of respect for each other and but for some late challenges on players as they struck the ball the game was played in a sporting manner.
  • To tell the truth, I have never struck a golf ball so well.
hit, drive, propel, force
informal clout, wallop, slam, swipe, welly
British informal welly
1.6Produce (a musical note) by pressing or hitting a key.
Example sentences
  • He would pull his finger off the string repeatedly after he had struck the note.
  • But wait, the orchestra has not struck the first note; the stage curtain has not gone up.
  • In an attempt to win you over, the band stand up and make their ambition clear from the second the first note is struck.
2 [with object] (Of a disaster, disease, or other unwelcome phenomenon) occur suddenly and have harmful or damaging effects on: a major earthquake struck the island [no object]: tragedy struck when Nick was killed in a car crash (as adjective, in combination struck) storm-struck areas
More example sentences
  • Since 1900, moderately damaging earthquakes have struck the seismic zone every few decades.
  • The infectious disease struck eight of her family members, taking the lives of her mother and father.
  • From your extensive music collection, what five CDs would you save in the event of some natural disaster striking your home?
affect, afflict, attack, hit, come upon, smite
2.1 [no object] Carry out an aggressive or violent action, typically without warning: it was eight months before the murderer struck again
More example sentences
  • We defeated an enemy that was virtually global, and had struck without warning, and was really quite diabolical.
  • Police have issued this e-fit of a violent burglar who has struck at least four times.
  • Wouldn't it be better instead to simply strike without warning?
attack, make an attack/assault, set upon someone, fall on someone, assault someone
2.2 (usually be struck down) Kill or seriously incapacitate (someone): he was struck down by a mystery virus
More example sentences
  • Phillip opened his mouth to answer, but what came next was a yelp as the officer that had killed Kolev was struck down by an arrow in his neck.
  • It's a good point that if he had not been struck down by serious ill health, he may well have continued their rise to the very top of the league.
  • Abbot Tathal, who had become like the father she had lost, had been struck down by the same man who had killed her family.
2.3 (strike something into) Cause or create a particular strong emotion in (someone): drugs—a subject guaranteed to strike fear into parents' hearts
More example sentences
  • We received a press release this morning which struck such fear into our hearts we decided that we had to let you, the innocent public, know of its existence as quickly as possible, in order to avoid mass panic.
  • But it was the highest level since Tokyo began keeping track in 1953, and struck a deep chill into the hearts of many Japanese.
  • Well, I think this probably struck a little fear into the heart of the regime.
2.4 [with object and complement] Cause (someone) to be in a specified state: he was struck dumb
More example sentences
  • She finds it easy to talk to the strangers she meets in her restless wanderings, knowing nothing about them and caring less, but she is struck dumb in the face of her mute daughter.
  • Before I am struck dumb by incredulity, you might like to know that this test was carried out in the name of research into the theory that women sniff out ideal mates.
  • Enter the Jaya Marthanda gates and you are struck dumb by the perfect proportions and sweep of the palace, though you may be visiting it for the 20th time.
3 [with object] (Of a thought or idea) come into the mind of (someone) suddenly or unexpectedly: a disturbing thought struck Melissa
More example sentences
  • I was suddenly struck by the idea that I should leave them instead.
  • Watching the waves crash onto the beach, I am suddenly struck by the idea to go and let them crash over my body.
  • Josh is suddenly struck with the idea that goggles would allow him to see under those lilies.
occur to, come to, dawn on one, hit;
come to mind, spring to mind, enter one's head, present itself, come into one's consciousness
3.1Cause (someone) to have a particular impression: [with clause]: it struck him that Marjorie was unusually silent the idea struck her as odd
More example sentences
  • Roger Federer is the most breathtaking player to watch - especially live, when you are struck by the impression that he must have six arms.
  • Orwell's scrupulous observations and distinctions strike me as impressive and useful in the context of the war being waged against us now.
  • On that day they looked anything but impressive and what struck me about their performance that day was how quickly they crumbled once Donegal took the initiative.
seem to, appear to, look to;
give someone the impression of being;
impress, affect, have an impact on
3.2 (be struck by/with) Find particularly interesting, noticeable, or impressive: Lucy was struck by the ethereal beauty of the scene
More example sentences
  • I was struck by a number of interesting points about this spiked-debate so far.
  • The guides who aided and fleeced the pioneers who moved West were struck by how clueless many of them were about the wilderness they were entering.
  • After a few days of scouting venues and contemplating a Registry Office wedding, we were struck by how much we weren't looking forward to the event.
3.3 (be struck on) informal Be deeply fond of or infatuated with: she was rather struck on Angus, wasn’t she?
4 [no object] (Of a clock) indicate the time by sounding a chime or stroke: [with complement]: the church clock struck twelve
More example sentences
  • Adel and Doug entered the house just as the large grandfather clock struck twelve.
  • She dares him to do it, and just then the clock strikes twelve.
  • Make sure you get there early, as it becomes members only after the clock strikes twelve.
4.1(Of time) be indicated by a clock sounding a chime or stroke: eight o’clock struck
More example sentences
  • Waking unhappily and hearing eleven o'clock strike, he wondered at Ellie's voice at his father's bedroom door.
5 [with object] Ignite (a match) by rubbing it briskly against an abrasive surface: the match went out and he struck another
More example sentences
  • I got up, and while doing so struck a match to ignite the overhead oxygen.
  • There had to be oxygen present, and the surface on which the match was struck had to be of a certain kind.
  • Valerie knitted her brow as she struck match after match until finally she took a long and deep breath to calm her beating heart.
5.1Produce (fire or a spark) as a result of friction: his iron stick struck sparks from the pavement
More example sentences
  • The bar in my hands spun wildly and the impact struck sparks from the iron.
  • Millstones, if they were not adjusted properly, could strike sparks from each other.
  • Her blade clanged against Amanda's hard, striking a haze of sparks that lit the air between them.
5.2Bring (an electric arc) into being: heat is generated by an electric arc struck between two graphitic electrodes
More example sentences
  • The mercury excites the phosphor coating on interior of the tube when the arc is struck.
6 [no object] (Of employees) refuse to work as a form of organized protest, typically in an attempt to obtain a particular concession or concessions from their employer: workers may strike over threatened job losses
More example sentences
  • The government installed armed military units inside oil fields and refineries in an attempt to stop workers striking.
  • The industrial action saw employees strike at hospitals and rest homes across the country.
  • Around 450 workers struck recently over management attempts to bring in new flexible shifts.
take industrial action, go on strike, down tools, walk out, work to rule;
mutiny, rebel, revolt
6.1 [with object] North American Undertake strike action against (an employer): photoengravers voted to strike the New York Times
More example sentences
  • Some 800 nurses struck Queen's Medical Center three weeks ago.
  • Following a workers' committee decision, the staff struck the bank's business division.
7 [with object] Cancel, remove, or cross out with or as if with a pen: I will strike his name from the list the Court of Appeal struck out the claim for exemplary damages she was striking words through with a pen
More example sentences
  • The question was whether that should be struck out but the House of Lords did not strike it out.
  • Some of the most extreme proposals of the bill were either diluted or struck out or subjected to a four-year time limit related to the course of the war.
  • The author usually fails to mention what portions of the specification they would strike out in the name of simplification.
7.1 (strike someone off) chiefly British Officially remove someone from membership of a professional group: he was struck off by the Law Society and will never practise as a solicitor again
More example sentences
  • Yesterday, the UK Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting professional conduct committee struck her off, after ruling that her behaviour amounted to misconduct.
  • With just two weeks to go until the appeal deadline, the GP has still not decided whether to challenge a decision by the General Medical Council to strike him off for professional misconduct.
  • The consultant was struck off by the professional conduct committee in November 2000, over a 1996 operation in which he was accused of abandoning a patient who later bled to death.
7.2 (strike something down) North American Abolish a law or regulation: the law was struck down by the Supreme Court
More example sentences
  • It does not follow, if this legislation is struck down, that the appellant can get away with biting people.
  • Nevertheless, the Virginia Supreme Court - over the dissent of some of its Justices - struck the statute down.
  • As I predicted, however, the Supreme Court did not strike these laws down on grounds that they were special-interest rent-seeking legislation.
8 [with object] Make (a coin or medal) by stamping metal: they struck similar medals on behalf of the Normandy veterans
More example sentences
  • Back in 1698, the mill was used to forge copper blacks for the Royal Mint to strike farthings and halfpennies.
  • The Royal Thai Mint has struck a special medal.
  • The coin was struck during the reign of King Mongkut (Rama IV) who reigned from 1851 till 1868.
8.1(In cinematography) make (another print) of a film: the film was reissued on a new print struck from the old negative
More example sentences
  • We had to contemplate striking a new print and making a new telecine which is expensive.
  • Then there's the fact that the stocks used for striking prints have improved dramatically and can improve a lot more yet.
  • It will be the theatrical cut for every country - that's based on it costing too much to go back and do an uncut version for other markets, and strike new prints.
9 [with object] Reach, achieve, or agree to (something involving agreement, balance, or compromise): the team has struck a deal with a sports marketing agency you have to strike a happy medium
More example sentences
  • Reid says hunters and trappers tried to strike a compromise by agreeing to strictly limited hunting and trapping seasons.
  • Commonwealth leaders meeting in Australia have struck a deal, agreeing on a compromise to deal with the rapidly worsening situation.
  • Achieving surgical excellence requires striking the right balance between quality of care and financial performance.
achieve, reach, arrive at, find, attain, effect, establish
agree, agree on, come to an agreement on, settle on, sign, endorse, ratify, sanction
informal clinch
9.1(In financial contexts) reach (a figure) by balancing an account: last year’s loss was struck after allowing for depreciation of £67 million
More example sentences
  • Failure so to notify the bank should be deemed to constitute a verification by the customer of the balance struck.
9.2Canadian Form (a committee): the government struck a committee to settle the issue
More example sentences
  • The District of North Vancouver has struck a special committee to look into the allegations.
  • In addition, a small steering committee was struck.
  • Various special committees are then struck from time to time to assess specific situations.
10 [with object] Discover (gold, minerals, or oil) by drilling or mining: if they do strike oil, there will be another test well in a year’s time
More example sentences
  • The company said it struck gold in a Bulgarian mine.
  • This time round, the company has struck black gold in Angola.
  • A Swindon firm has joined the rush to strike black gold in the Falkland Islands.
10.1Come to or reach: several days out of the village, we struck the Gilgit Road
More example sentences
  • When I struck the beach on the south shore, I was more than 5 kilometers downstream from Linz.
10.2 [no object] (strike on/upon) Discover or think of, especially unexpectedly or by chance: pondering, she struck upon a brilliant idea
More example sentences
  • Something that works is most often a simple and elegant balance of elements struck upon by design or chance.
  • When we find an anomaly, which defies the notion of some regularity, corresponding to our sense-perception of the world around us, we have struck upon the possibility of discovering a universal physical principle, like gravity.
  • It seems a few lefty types thought they'd struck upon a fine idea: create a blog, then email a bunch of center/right bloggers to attempt to bring the crowds to their site.
11 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move or proceed vigorously or purposefully: she struck out into the lake with a practised crawl he struck off down the track
More example sentences
  • Married in April, we struck out for the Yangtze River in July.
  • After stopping back in Savannah to fill-up and to have hamburgers in the car at the local Sonic, we struck out across country on picturesque back roads.
  • He tells his wife that if he is killed, she should remain hidden until the men have passed and then strike out on her own for Loreto.
go, make one's way, set out, head, direct one's footsteps, move towards
11.1 (strike out) Start out on a new or independent course or endeavour: after two years he was able to strike out on his own he’s struck out as a private eye
More example sentences
  • Of course she decides to strike out on her own.
  • To some extent, when a first lady strikes out in an independent manner, she disrupts the first three news frames of a supportive wife who has protocol functions and a good works agenda.
  • In late 1985, while now trying to strike out as an independent game designer but still living north of Boston, Moon decided to organize a game group, the North Shore Game Club.
12 [with object] Take down (a tent or the tents of an encampment): it took ages to strike camp
More example sentences
  • It was time to strike camp and move on to a fresh location.
  • Each soldier took his share in establishing the camp and striking the camp the next day.
  • When the assembled group finally felt they'd spent enough time at the campsite, they began to strike camp, and stow their things on their backs again.
12.1Dismantle (theatrical scenery): the minute we finish this evening, they’ll start striking the set
12.2Lower or take down (a flag or sail), especially as a salute or to signify surrender: the ship struck her German colours
More example sentences
  • I can raise and strike a sail, reef it and stow it.
13 [with object] Insert (a cutting of a plant) in soil to take root: best results are obtained from striking them in a propagator
More example sentences
  • Generally these do for all our needs, whether it's sowing seed, striking cuttings or general potting up.
13.1 [no object] (Of a plant or cutting) develop roots: small conifers will strike from cuttings
More example sentences
  • He's trying to grow cuttings, but doesn't even know which part of the plant is best to strike from.
13.2 [no object] (Of a young oyster) attach itself to a bed: there is no better surface for the spat to strike on than another oyster
14 [no object] Fishing Secure a hook in the mouth of a fish by jerking or tightening the line after it has taken the bait or fly.
Example sentences
  • Only when the rod tip pulls hard over and the fish starts to run with the bait should you strike to set the hook.
  • Wait until the line tightens before striking, again be ready for fireworks if the fish is a carp.
  • Ten minutes into darkness I felt a gentle pluck on the line, and striking, I connected with a powerful fish.


1A refusal to work organized by a body of employees as a form of protest, typically in an attempt to gain a concession or concessions from their employer: dockers voted for an all-out strike [mass noun]: local government workers went on strike [as modifier]: strike action
More example sentences
  • It is a slap in the face for those employees who went on strike for better pay.
  • Eight months after the Conservatives were elected in Ontario, provincial employees went on strike for the first time ever.
  • Taxi drivers and shop owners went on strike yesterday to protest what the opposition says was widespread rigging of the elections.
1.1 [with modifier] An organized refusal to do something expected or required, with a similar aim: a rent strike
More example sentences
  • A 24-hour post strike is expected in London, called by the Communication Workers Union after pay talks with Royal Mail stalled.
  • He even resisted a municipal garbage strike, by renting a truck and picking up the garbage himself.
  • When 6000 women call a 2 month sex strike things get done.
2A sudden attack, typically a military one: the threat of nuclear strikes
More example sentences
  • Now, he has added the threat of preemptive military strikes.
  • The reader is led to believe that Stalin oriented his military commanders toward a preemptive strike by the Red Army.
  • Are we to understand that they, also, are entitled to launch massive military strikes against their attackers?
attack, air strike, air attack, assault, bombing, blitz
2.1(In sporting contexts) an act of hitting or kicking a ball: his 32nd-minute strike helped the team to end a run of three defeats
More example sentences
  • A late strike from leading scorer Steve Oleksewycz was the visitors' only consolation.
  • Then approaching the striking zone, he drew the goal-keeper out and confused him by delaying his strike before slotting the ball into the left-corner.
  • The young German has made himself a hero on the Holte End since he has been in the first team with some tremendous goals and strikes from distance.
2.2(In tenpin bowling) an act of knocking down all the pins with one’s first ball.
Example sentences
  • I needed three strikes to win, and I threw three good balls and got strikes.
  • No one throws a strike every ball, which is why filling frames is very important.
  • Throwing strikes is great because you knock down all 10 pins and don't have to shoot a spare.
2.3 Fishing An act or instance of jerking or tightening the line to secure a fish that has already taken the bait or fly.
Example sentences
  • When I get a bite the strike pulls the fish up and out, away from any potential snags and into open water.
  • One of the problems I see the newcomer to saltwater fly fishing do when they feel a fish is give a hefty strike upwards as they would in trout fishing.
  • This is their fifth day and we have yet to hook a fish, despite two half-hearted strikes.
3A discovery of gold, minerals, or oil by drilling or mining: the Lena goldfields strike of 1912
More example sentences
  • The data is used to test a range of hypotheses about the correlates of mining strikes.
  • The museum is located in Mariposa, which had some of the Gold Country's richest strikes.
  • Tracey and Pete went out looking for any signs of a gold strike or something, anything of value in the land.
4 Baseball A batter’s unsuccessful attempt to hit a pitched ball.
Example sentences
  • By the time the batter swung, strike three was already in the catcher's mitt.
  • Down to his final strike, he swung late at a fast ball and lofted a pop-up down the third base line.
  • The batter is automatically out for a hunt foul on a third strike.
4.1A pitch that passes through the strike zone.
Example sentences
  • I pitched quickly, threw strikes, and the defense was sharper.
  • He's throwing strikes and mixing his pitches well.
  • I went to the bullpen to warm up and couldn't throw strikes and didn't have any stuff.
4.2North American Something to one’s discredit: when they returned from Vietnam they had two strikes against them
More example sentences
  • So it's two strikes against us with regards to this photo, and we don't have any greater understanding of the world around us.
  • A lot of people think a governor on the ticket is helpful, but that he had two strikes against him.
  • So does that make two strikes against efficiency?
5The horizontal or compass direction of a stratum, fault, or other geological feature: the mine workings follow the strike of the Bonsor Vein
More example sentences
  • Incremental changes in the strike of some of the folds occur across these right-lateral faults, with more east-west orientations to the east.
  • It has a similar strike but steeper dip and extends to anticipated Precambrian basement depths.
  • While the north-south strike may be related to extension in the North Sea, it is not obvious why the beds in the south Midlands dip towards the SE.



strike an attitude (or pose)

Hold one’s body in a particular position to create an impression: striking a dramatic pose, Antonia announced that she was leaving
More example sentences
  • I grabbed the dress and pressed it against my body, striking a pose.
  • As I it drove past her, I took my hands off the wheel and struck a pose.
  • She wailed something in a language I couldn't recognise and struck a pose.
assume, adopt, take on, take up, affect, feign, put on
North American informal cop

strike a balance


strike a blow for (or at/against)

Do something to help (or hinder) a cause, belief, or principle: just by finishing the race, she hopes to strike a blow for womankind
More example sentences
  • A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.
  • Their intelligence work struck a blow at USA designs and provided much of the evidence at the trial.
  • They will try any means possible to strike a blow at our way of life.

strike a chord

see chord2.

strike at the root (or roots) of

see root1.

strike gold

1Discover gold during the course of drilling or mining: as miners explored further, they struck gold in other nearby areas
More example sentences
  • Stories abound about the first people to strike gold.
  • The company said it struck gold in a Bulgarian mine.
  • Some were 'shepherds' who did token work on their claim until a neighbour struck gold.
2Be very successful in an undertaking or enterprise: he struck gold with his first picture, which was nominated for two Oscars
More example sentences
  • The series, which follows the adventures of a single mother turned private investigator, also helped him first strike gold in publishing.
  • Companies are being offered the chance to "strike gold" in the £500 billion public sector market.
  • However, his speech will strike gold with many voters: council tax is toxically unpopular.

strike hands

archaic (Of two people) clasp hands to seal a deal or agreement: come, Miss Marianne, let us strike hands upon the bargain
More example sentences
  • Then Roderigo, who has left the room, suddenly and unexpectedly rushes back in to strike hands with Iago, startling the latter who was to embark on his monologue.
  • He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe.
  • The pilgrims adore the sun rising while striking hands and while greeting them piously.

strike home

see home.

strike (it) lucky

British informal Have good luck in a particular matter: Middlesbrough struck lucky when they chose McClaren last summer
More example sentences
  • They soon struck lucky, finding the coins scattered over a wide area.
  • Was this the norm or had we struck lucky finding the café almost deserted?
  • If you are a follower of style, with no interest in budget meals or hotels, then you have just struck lucky.

strike it rich

informal Acquire a great deal of money, typically in a sudden or unexpected way: he struck it rich when a distant cousin left him $8 million
More example sentences
  • Like the prospector who spends years searching for gold with little or no success, the horse owner knows all the effort and money invested will be worthwhile if he can strike it rich with one horse.
  • It might not be good for players who grab the short money available immediately and miss the opportunity to truly strike it rich.
  • Oh, and if you should strike it rich, don't forget who brokered the deal.

strike a light

British informal, dated Used as an expression of surprise, dismay, or alarm: cor, strike a light, he’s a crazy geezer and no mistake!
More example sentences
  • Faster than you could say ‘Cor blimey, strike a light and blow me down’ Andrew had the first few designers ready to be profiled.

strike me lucky (or pink)

informal, chiefly Australian Used to express astonishment or indignation.
Example sentences
  • Strike me lucky, that's business hypocrisy at its worst!
  • Strike me lucky, I am beginning to sound like a whinger.
  • Every day I try to beat everyone else but, strike me pink, the number of times I was slowed down by some commuter bike getting in my way!

strike while the iron is hot

Make use of an opportunity immediately.
Example sentences
  • The important point to remember is to strike while the iron is hot - that is, take advantage of the opportunity before it is too late.
  • We need to strike while the iron is hot, and show them how angry and betrayed we feel.
  • The time has to be right for us to take someone on and we have to strike while the iron is hot.

Phrasal verbs


strike back

1Retaliate: he struck back at critics who claim he is too negative
More example sentences
  • Now his enemies have struck back at him in a lawless and cowardly fashion.
  • They struck back at New York's finest, and the movement to attain full civil rights was born.
  • Should you strike back against hackers if the police can't do anything?
fight back, retaliate, hit back, respond, react, reply, reciprocate, counterattack, return fire, return the compliment, put up a fight, take the bait, rise to the bait, return like for like, get back at someone, get, give tit for tat, give as good as one gets, let someone see how it feels, give someone a dose/taste of their own medicine;
have/get/take one's revenge, take/exact/wreak revenge, be revenged, revenge oneself, avenge oneself, take reprisals, get even, even the score, settle a/the score, settle accounts, pay someone back (in their own coin), pay someone out, repay someone, exact retribution, take an eye for an eye (and a tooth for a tooth)
informal give someone their comeuppance
British informal get one's own back
rare give someone a Roland for an Oliver
2(Of a gas burner) burn from an internal point before the gas has become mixed with air.

strike in

archaic Intervene in a conversation or discussion: Jacques struck in, and asked if he had ever seen the man before

strike someone out (or strike out)

Baseball Dismiss someone (or be dismissed) by means of three strikes: Schmidt strikes out batter Garcia Ferguson was struck out for the second time
More example sentences
  • He had the edge on me, and he finally struck me out on a high fastball.
  • Win or lose, we learn to support the player who struck out or dropped the ball because sooner or later it's going to be us - that's baseball.
  • I'd drop the ball or strike out at bat, while the rest of my so-called teammates buried their heads in their hands and groaned.
(strike out) North American informal3.1 Fail or be unsuccessful: the company struck out the first time it tried to manufacture personal computers
More example sentences
  • They didn't go back there because they struck out.
  • I've struck out in movies and theater, and I don't want to go back to night clubs.
  • Instead, he struck out (in my mind) with a pathetic ten-second response to a two-minute question.

strike up (or strike something up)

(Of a band or orchestra) begin to play a piece of music: they struck up the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’
More example sentences
  • It began when a band struck up the opening hymn and a huge screen unfurled with a little bouncy ball popping across the words so everyone could sing along.
  • There was an awkward silence and then the band began to strike up.
  • The band struck up a catchy, fast-paced jazz beat, and Victoria began to sing.
begin to play, start to play, begin/start/commence playing, embark on
(strike something up)4.1 Begin a friendship or conversation with someone, typically in a casual way: he struck up an intimate conversation with her in the lobby
More example sentences
  • You could always strike up a conversation with someone on the mall bench next to you.
  • We might strike up a friendship, become pen pals, visit each other.
  • They were boisterous but friendly, delighting in striking up friendships with the locals.
begin, start, embark on, set going, initiate, instigate, establish
formal commence



adjective (also strikeable)


Old English strīcan 'go, flow' and 'rub lightly', of West Germanic origin; related to German streichen 'to stroke', also to stroke. The sense 'deliver a blow' dates from Middle English.

  • In Anglo-Saxon times to strike was ‘to go or flow’ or ‘to rub lightly’, close in meaning to the related word stroke which shares a Germanic root. By the Middle Ages striking had become more forceful, and the word was being used in the familiar sense ‘hit’. To strike while the iron is hot is a metaphor from the blacksmith's forge, where iron can only be hammered into shape while it is hot. The proverb is quoted by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1386 and used in a slightly modified form by Shakespeare in Henry VI Part 3: ‘Strike now, or else the iron cools.’ The sort of strike that involves stopping work as a protest was first heard of in 1810, but the verb, meaning ‘to go on strike’, was earlier. This quote from the Annual Register of 1768 could be the source of the term: ‘A body of sailors…proceeded…to Sunderland…and went on board the several ships in that harbour, and struck [lowered] their yards [spars], in order to prevent them from proceeding to sea’. In the 1980s legislation was passed in some states of the USA known as the three strikes law or rule. It makes an offender's third felony punishable by life imprisonment or other severe sentence. The term comes from baseball—if a batter has three ‘strikes’, or unsuccessful attempts to hit a pitched ball, they ‘strike out’ or are out.

Words that rhyme with strike

alike, bike, haik, hike, like, mic, mike, mislike, pike, psych, psyche, shrike, spike, trike, tyke, Van Dyck, vandyke

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: strike

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