grok v.

to perceive or understand fully; to feel empathy with; to enjoy, appreciate

[Coined as a word in Martian by Robert A. Heinlein in Stranger in a Strange Land (1961); perhaps cf. griggo, a Venusian word with a similar meaning, in William Tenn’s story ‘Venus and the Seven Sexes’ (see 1949 quots.), which Heinlein later (according to Tenn) acknowledged as a possible influence]

SF Encyclopedia

  • [1949 ‘W. Tenn’ Venus & the Seven Sexes in The Seven Sexes (1963) 177 William Tenn bibliography

    The humans who make these stereos neglect almost completely the senses of taste, brotch, pressure, and griggo. [Ibid. 183] ‘The only other sex-chief whose whereabouts I griggo,’ the tree-dweller observed, ‘is the new nzred nzredd.’ [Ibid. 188] First, it was necessary for me to teach English to the first Plookh thespians so that they could follow Shlestertrap’s direction. Not very difficult, this: it simply required a short period of concentrated griggoing. [Ibid. 196] The nzred nzredd and twelve specially trained helpers had been traveling everywhere, griggoing English to all Plookhh they met and ordering them to go forth and griggo likewise.]

  • 1961 R. A. Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land 18 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    Smith had been aware of the doctors but had grokked that their intentions were benign.

  • 1961 R. Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land xxiv. 250 Robert A. Heinlein bibliography

    Now that he knew himself to be self he was free to grok ever closer to his brothers.

  • 1968 S. E. Whitfield in S. E. Whitfield & G. Roddenberry Making of ‘Star Trek’ ii. v. 223 bibliography

    Yet the public reaction to Star Trek’s green-blooded Vulcan has been astounding. ‘I Grok Spock’ buttons are in evidence everywhere.

  • 1974 ‘R. M. Weems’ Found in Space in Amazing Science Fiction Apr. 95/2 page image Alexei Panshin bibliography

    He fell to his knees and cried with the agony of it all. He grokked wrongness.

  • 1995 D. Brin Brightness Reef (1996) 68 David Brin bibliography

    Noors can’t speak Galactic Two or any other language anyone’s ever grokked, but they can memorize and repeat any short mirror-flash they happen to pick up with their sharp eyes.

  • 1998 G. Cox Assignment: Eternity xiii. 178 Greg Cox bibliography

    Okay…Let’s grok.

  • 1998 D. Brin Heaven’s Reach 410 David Brin bibliography

    Can you sniff/sense/feel/grok the very thing you covet…and secretly fear?

  • 1999 Interzone Mar. 62/1

    What merit Dozois perceives in this utter turkey was beyond me when he included it in one of his Best-of-the-Year anthologies and is even harder to grok on rereading.

  • 2003 J. Lethem Fortress of Solitude i. xviii. 277 Jonathan Lethem bibliography

    Disgusting to realize he was flirting with Arthur’s mom, to realize, not that he grokked girls, he’d always been flirting with Arthur’s mom.

  • 2007 Wired Nov. 112/1

    Her whimsical, easy-to-grok icons tempted even non-techies to pick up a mouse.

Earliest cite

coined by Heinlein in <i>Stranger in a Strange Land</i>

Research History
We would like to verify the William Tenn examples in the original edition of the story, published in "The Girl with the Hungry Eyes and Other Stories".

Last modified 2023-11-11 20:08:44
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.