Printable Version
Pronunciation: grahk Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To comprehend (something) fully in all details intuitively or empathetically, as 'to grok a computer code'.

Notes: Today's rather odd word is sometimes spelled (corrected for English?) as grock. In order to avoid implying groke, the K is doubled in the tenses, grokked and grokking, unlike hook or cook with their double Os, which accomplish the same thing. Someone who groks well might be called a grokker.

In Play: Today's word seems to have found a home in the language of computer programmers: "Sy Burnett grokked the program so well he could remove the bugs in a few hours." However, it is just as comfortable in the general vocabulary: "Lacie Curtain grokked her husband so well, she could pick out the lies among all the truthful things he said."

Word History: Today's Good Word was coined by American author Robert A. Heinlein in his novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961). The word is described in the novel as the word for "to drink in all available aspects of reality" or "to become one with the observed" in Heinlein's fictitious Martian language. It probably won't stick, but made-up words do become so useful, and many do. Like limnology, however, they are usually created by combining real words from some language. I usually avoid words with such a shallow history, but this one was recommended by two respectable and respected contributors to this series and the Alpha Agora, George Kovac and Barbara Beeton. Their enthusiasm convinced me to run it as today's oddity of a Good Word.

Dr. Goodword,

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