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This nOde last updated May 27th, 2003 and is permanently morphing...
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grok (gròk) verb,
grokked, grokking, groks
To understand profoundly through intuition or empathy.
[Coined by Robert A. Heinlein in his _Stranger in a Strange Land_ .]
To grok (pronounced GRAHK) something is to understand something so well that it is fully absorbed into oneself. In Robert Heinlein's science-fiction novel of 1961, _Stranger in a Strange Land_, the word is Martian and literally means "to drink" but metaphorically means "to take it all in," to understand fully, or to "be at one with." Today, grok sometimes is used to include acceptance as well as comprehension - to "dig" or appreciate as well as to know.
As one character from Heinlein's novel says:
'Grok' means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed - to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science - and it means as little to us [because we are from Earth] as color means to a blind man.
In common usage, "Do you
grok?" seems close in meaning to "Do you get it?"
[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'] The emphatic form is `grok in fullness'.
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."
- from _The New Hacker's
S. Raymond (1993)