It's a stroke of luck, or chance event, to find a terrific parking space on a rainy day, but no one feels lucky when their grandfather has a stroke, a sudden debilitating loss of oxygen to the brain.

Stroke is a high value word — many meanings, yet rarely misunderstood in context. You can swim a certain stroke (or just doggie paddle), you can stroke a cat's fur, you can figuratively stroke your boss's ego by flattering him, or you can have a stroke of brilliance and solve world hunger. Hopefully you won't suffer a stroke and need hospitalization. Its origin as a medical term goes back to the 1500s when it was shortened from "the Stroke of God's Hand."

Definitions of stroke
  1. noun
    a single complete movement
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    key stroke, keystroke
    the stroke of a key; one depression of a key on a keyboard
    a stroke or blow
    a stroke with a curved piece of wood with taut horsehair strands that is used in playing stringed instruments
    blow, buffet
    a powerful stroke with the fist or a weapon
    a backhanded blow
    a sharp slanting blow
    belt, knock, rap, whack, whang
    the act of hitting vigorously
    a hard blow with a flat object
    slap, smack, smacking
    the act of smacking something; a blow delivered with an open hand
    a very powerful blow with the fist
    a blow that knocks the opponent off his feet
    KO, kayo, knockout
    a blow that renders the opponent unconscious
    a sharp blow
    lash, whip, whiplash
    a quick blow delivered with a whip or whiplike object
    biff, clout, lick, poke, punch, slug
    (boxing) a blow with the fist
    a blow with the hand (usually on the ear)
    boot, kick, kicking
    the act of delivering a blow with the foot
    a downward stroke from the heel to the tip of the bow
    an upward stroke from the tip to the heel of the bow
    a return blow; a retaliatory blow
    a sweeping blow or stroke
    knife thrust, stab, thrust
    a strong blow with a knife or other sharp pointed instrument
    a sharp stinging blow
    a heavy blow with the hand
    a swinging blow directed upward (especially at an opponent's chin)
    hammer, hammering, pound, pounding
    the act of pounding (delivering repeated heavy blows)
    a blow hard enough to cause injury
    a severe blow
    type of:
    motility, motion, move, movement
    a change of position that does not entail a change of location
  2. noun
    any one of the repeated movements of the limbs and body used for locomotion in swimming or rowing
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    swimming stroke
    a method of moving the arms and legs to push against the water and propel the swimmer forward
    Australian crawl, crawl, front crawl
    a swimming stroke; arms are moved alternately overhead accompanied by a flutter kick
    dog paddle
    an elementary swimming stroke imitating a swimming dog
    a swimming stroke in which the arms move forward and backward while the legs do a scissors kick
    butterfly, butterfly stroke
    a swimming stroke in which the arms are thrown forward together out of the water while the feet kick up and down
    a swimming stroke; the arms are extended together in front of the head and swept back on either side accompanied by a frog kick
    a swimming stroke that resembles the crawl except the swimmer lies on his or her back
    treading water
    a stroke that keeps the head above water by thrashing the legs and arms
    type of:
    locomotion, travel
    self-propelled movement
  3. noun
    the maximum movement available to a pivoted or reciprocating piece by a cam
    synonyms: cam stroke, throw
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    the stroke of an engine piston moving away from the crankshaft
    the stroke of an engine piston moving toward the crankshaft
    type of:
    motion, movement
    a natural event that involves a change in the position or location of something
  4. noun
    a light touch
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    type of:
    touch, touching
    the event of something coming in contact with the body
  5. noun
    a light touch with the hands
    synonyms: stroking
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    a gentle affectionate stroking (or something resembling it)
    type of:
    touch, touching
    the act of putting two things together with no space between them
  6. verb
    touch lightly and repeatedly, as with brushing motions
    “He stroked his long beard”
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    caress, fondle
    touch or stroke lightly in a loving or endearing manner
    lap, lick
    pass the tongue over
    touch clumsily
    fondle for sexual pleasure
    chuck, pat
    pat or squeeze fondly or playfully, especially under the chin
    nose, nuzzle
    rub noses
    stroke or caress gently
    touch or stroke lightly
    lick or explore with the tongue
    type of:
    make physical contact with, come in contact with
  7. verb
    treat gingerly or carefully
    “You have to stroke the boss”
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    type of:
    blandish, flatter
    praise somewhat dishonestly
  8. noun
    (sports) the act of swinging or striking at a ball with a club or racket or bat or cue or hand
    “it took two strokes to get out of the bunker”
    synonyms: shot
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    the opening shot that scatters the balls in billiards or pool
    cannon, carom
    a shot in billiards in which the cue ball contacts one object ball and then the other
    masse, masse shot
    a shot in billiards made by hitting the cue ball with the cue held nearly vertically; the cue ball spins around another ball before hitting the object ball
    a faulty shot in billiards; the cue tip slips off the cue ball
    cut, undercut
    (sports) a stroke that puts reverse spin on the ball
    a sweeping stroke or blow
    tennis shot, tennis stroke
    the act of hitting a tennis ball with a tennis racket
    baseball swing, cut, swing
    in baseball; a batter's attempt to hit a pitched ball
    golf shot, golf stroke, swing
    the act of swinging a golf club at a golf ball and (usually) hitting it
    a tennis stroke that sends the ball back to the other player
    serve, service
    (sports) a stroke that puts the ball in play
    a swing downward of a golf club
    fade, slice, slicing
    a golf shot that curves to the right for a right-handed golfer
    draw, hook, hooking
    a golf shot that curves to the left for a right-handed golfer
    drive, driving
    hitting a golf ball off of a tee with a driver
    a golf shot from a bunker that typically moves sand as well as the golf ball
    putt, putting
    hitting a golf ball that is on the green using a putter
    approach, approach shot
    a relatively short golf shot intended to put the ball onto the putting green
    a poor golf stroke in which the club head hits the ground before hitting the ball
    a poor golf stroke in which the heel of the club hits the ball
    the act of hitting a golf ball from the teeing ground at the start of each hole
    type of:
    maneuver, manoeuvre, play
    a deliberate coordinated movement requiring dexterity and skill
  9. noun
    (golf) the unit of scoring in golf is the act of hitting the ball with a club
    “Nicklaus won by three strokes
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    type of:
    a number that expresses the accomplishment of a team or an individual in a game or contest
  10. verb
    strike a ball with a smooth blow
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    type of:
    hit, strike
    make a strategic, offensive, assault against an enemy, opponent, or a target
  11. noun
    the oarsman nearest the stern of the shell who sets the pace for the rest of the crew
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    type of:
    oarsman, rower
    someone who rows a boat
  12. verb
    row at a particular rate
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    propel with oars
  13. noun
    a sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture or occlusion of a blood vessel leads to oxygen lack in the brain
    synonyms: CVA, apoplexy, cerebrovascular accident
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    ischaemic stroke, ischemic stroke
    the most common kind of stroke; caused by an interruption in the flow of blood to the brain (as from a clot blocking a blood vessel)
    haemorrhagic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke
    stroke caused by the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain
    type of:
    a sudden occurrence of an uncontrollable condition
  14. noun
    a mark made on a surface by a pen, pencil, or paintbrush
    “she applied the paint in careful strokes
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    a stroke normally made in a downward direction
    a stroke normally made in an upward direction
    a short stroke
    underline, underscore
    a line drawn underneath (especially under written matter)
    type of:
    mark, print
    a visible indication made on a surface
  15. noun
    a punctuation mark (/) used to separate related items of information
    synonyms: diagonal, separatrix, slash, solidus, virgule
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    type of:
    punctuation, punctuation mark
    the marks used to clarify meaning by indicating separation of words into sentences and clauses and phrases
  16. noun
    anything that happens suddenly or by chance without an apparent cause
    synonyms: accident, chance event, fortuity
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    an accidental happening
    break, good luck, happy chance
    an unexpected piece of good luck
    coincidence, happenstance
    an event that might have been arranged although it was really accidental
    something that is regarded as a chance event
    type of:
    happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
    an event that happens
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