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/grok/, /grohk/ (From the novel "Stranger in a Strange Land", by Robert A. Heinlein, where it is a Martian word meaning literally "to drink" and metaphorically "to be one with")

1. To understand, usually in a global sense. Connotes intimate and exhaustive knowledge.

Contrast zen, which is similar supernal understanding experienced as a single brief flash. See also glark.

2. Used of programs, may connote merely sufficient understanding. "Almost all C compilers grok the "void" type these days."


To have a thorough understanding of a subject. The word comes from Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land," and it means "to drink" in Martian. Of course. But more specifically in the book, it meant to take something in so thoroughly that it becomes part of you.

Grokking the GIMP
The GIMP is a sophisticated paint and image editing program in the Unix environment (see GIMP). This book, "Grokking the GIMP" by Carey Bunks is a title that means "Completely Understand the GIMP." (Image courtesy of New Riders Publishing,
References in periodicals archive ?
When the net was completed, the project had taken Grok a total of eighty hours of work--the equivalent of ten workdays, or the time equivalent of ten hand-caught fish.
The agreements grant rights for four patented technologies invented by NASA and GRoK scientists.
Perfs ideally grok McAbee's sensibility, which demands as specific a mix of comic exaggeration and quasi-amateur oddity as something like "Napoleon Dynamite.
Unfortunately, some information providers don't grok that they are (or at least can be) offering more than just bytes.
It gave the counterculture vocabulary the Martian word grok, that very '60s term meaning really, really understanding something, man, so that you and it were, like, as one.
Dan Pontex, Comment, Rewinding Sony: Can the Supreme Court and Big Media Grok P2P?
Ever since 16-year-old Grok appeared at the cave door wanting to take 14-year-old Luna to the mastodon dance, parents of teenage girls have had to fight the maddening, no-win war over dating older boys.
The best example so far of Bradley's conversion is his about-face on drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and drilling offshore--things he consistently voted against as a congressman but recently told the conservative Republican Granite Grok blog he'd readily support this time around.
Even if Book's staccato Pinter/Mamet-minimalist dialogue at times grows excessively mannered, director Tracy Ward's superb ensemble of veteran Bay Area actors and a couple newbies grok every line and pause.
Heinlein science fiction classic Stranger in a Strange Land, in which Grok is a Martian word meaning to understand something completely.