Grok [ˈɡɹɒk] / [ɡɹ̩kʰ] is a word I came across today in an email, and though I’ve encountered it before, I wasn’t sure what it meant. I thought it had something to do with programming as I’d only seen and heard it used in that context.
According to the Oxford Dictionaries online, grok is a verb meaning:
- to understand (something) intuitively or by empathy
- to establish a rapport
The Wiktionary definition of grok is as follows:
to grok (verb, transitive, slang)
- To have an intuitive understanding of; to know (something) without having to think (such as knowing the number of objects in a collection without needing to count them)
- To fully and completely understand something in all its details and intricacies.
The American author Robert A. Heinlein originally coined the word grok and used it in his 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land, in which it was a Martian word with a variety of meanings such as “water”, “to drink”, “life”, or “to live”, and also had a figurative meaning that is hard for Earth people to grasp [source].
When learning languages I aim to absorb them, to know as much about them as possible, and to speak them without having to think too much, or in other words to grok them. I’m not a big fan of this word, but it fits what I’m trying to do with languages.
Are there words with similar meanings in other languages?