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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."
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


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
GIMP is a sophisticated paint and image editing program (see GIMP), and this book title means "Thoroughly Learn GIMP." (Image courtesy of New Riders Publishing,
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References in periodicals archive ?
I have failed to understand a piece of writing many times before, but this consultation was the first time I couldn't even grok it.
But Grok's neighbor, Pike, became gravely concerned about Grok's innovation.
Similar to Grok's ability to construct and consider candidate models of data streams, IBM Watson quickly formulated candidate answers and examined its supply of reference information to gather supporting information for each possible answer.
This word, grok, coined by speculative fiction writer Robert A.
Thomas is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and director of the GROK (Graphical Representation of Knowledge) Laboratory at the University of Iowa.
One of the most amazing examples is Grokker--the name is derived from the Robert Heinlein science fiction novel term "grok" that means to understand through intimate and exhaustive knowledge--originally a fee-based desktop tool that was recently released in a free Web-based version.
"We have become like a trade show for the consumer and the trade," Horowitz continued, pointing to high-end Grok, Vibia and Leucos displays.
Faced with a B- or a C or a D at the bottom of an exam or paper, the student always had a choice: continue without fundamentally changing his habits of mind, his sense of his potential as a learner, or seek to understand why his work was still unsatisfactory and strive to grok what that eccentric professor was trying to get across.
(San Francisco, CA) and the former editor of International Data Group's now-closed Media Grok magazine, has begun the publication of Media Unspun, an electronic newsletter designed to cover the media business.
The electronic newsletter Media Unspun is coming from the same folks who produced Media Grok, a now-defunct spin-off of the equally defunct Industry Standard, both published by Standard Media International.
What does it mean to discover that our genome is a "dynamic and vibrant ecosystem?" To answer that question, to grok our DNA, we need to go back in evolution to complex systems evolved by archeobacteria billions of years ago, when they alone held title to Earth.