Grok (was Re: The language organ and the ety of <grok>)
|From:||Don Blaheta <dpb@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, October 27, 1999, 17:37|
Quoth Paul Bennett:
> Fabian also used the term <grok>, while we were in London, and I think
> I understand it. What's the etymology of it?
Heinlein invented it and used it in "Stranger in a Strange Land"; it has
a slightly more specific meaning there, but it was adopted more or less
as-is into the English language.
Interesting... I just checked, and while webster doesn't have it, the
OED does (jolly good work, there):
grok gro(hook)k (IPA grok), v. U.S. slang. Also grock.
[Arbitrary formation by Heinlein (see quot. 1961).] a. trans.
(also with obj. clause) To understand intuitively or by
empathy; to establish rapport with. b. intr. To empathize or
communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience
1961 R. Heinlein Stranger in Strange Land iii. 18 Smith had been
aware of the doctors but had grokked that their intentions
1961 R. Heinlein Stranger in Strange Land xxiv. 250 Now
that he knew himself to be self he was free to grok ever
closer to his brothers.
1968 T. Wolfe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test vi. 86 Instead
they are all rapping and grokking over the sound it
made..as if they had synched into a never-before-heard
thing, a unique thing.
1968 Playboy June 80 He met her at an acid-rock ball and
she grokked him, this ultracool miss loaded with
experience and bereft of emotion.
1969 New Yorker 15 Mar. 35, I was thinking we ought to get
together somewhere, Mr. Zzyzbyzynsky, and grok about our
1975 D. Lodge Changing Places iv. 137 Nestling earth
couple would like to find water brothers to grock with in
1984 InfoWorld 21 May 32 There isn't any software! Only
different internal states of hardware. It's all hardware!
It's a shame programmers don't grok that better.
Definitely was a word waiting to happen. :)
Those who do not understand Unix are condemned to reinvent it, poorly.
-- Henry Spencer