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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."
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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 ?
Defining the term "to grok" as "a verb meaning to scan all available information regarding a situation, digest it and form a distilled opinion," the guide goes on to explain that grokking is "just another example of language that percolates from the fiction world into the hightech world and the mainstream."
It happened in an interesting session titled, Grokking: The Use of Symbols and Body Language in Inference-Making OR How Do I Know All This About You When We've Just Met, in which Ruth McCubbrey had all of us do some of the grokking implied by the second title.
The verb "grok" (grokked, grokking) figures hugely in the book.