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Gunny G: Now Grok This!

Gunny G: Now Grok This!

Grok? What the hell is grok?
In today’s vernacular, grok means simply and basically, to understand or “get it” — do you get it now?

Do you get it? was a slang term of the pre-WWII movies, etc. Now in 2008 it has again become a popular buzzword with the younger crowd and also those older dinosaurs who remember it from earlier times. Getting it was again resurrected during the 1970s with the est seminars (see below), though not in exactly the same way as previously.

So we all know, or think we know, the meaning of getting it, but grok means a bit more than what we usually think of as just getting it, so for a more thorough meaning of grok one must refer to Stranger In A Strange Land….



Grok @ Wikipedia


Stranger in a Strange Land is a best-selling 1961 Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein. It tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human raised by Martians on the planet Mars, upon his return to Earth in early adulthood. The novel explores his interaction with — and eventual transformation of — Earth culture. The novel’s title refers to the Biblical Book of Exodus.[1] According to Heinlein in Grumbles from the Grave, the novel’s working title was The Heretic. Several later editions of the book have promoted it as “The most famous Science Fiction Novel ever written.”[2]

When Heinlein first wrote Stranger, his editors at Putnam required him to drastically cut its original 220,000-word length, and to remove some scenes that might have been considered too shocking at the time. The resulting edited version was about 160,000 words when first published in 1961. In 1962 this version received the Hugo Award for the Best Science Fiction Novel of the Year. After Heinlein’s death in 1988, his wife Virginia arranged to have the original uncut version of the manuscript published in 1991 by Ace/Putnam. Critics disagree over whether Heinlein’s preferred original manuscript is in fact better than the heavily-edited version originally published. There is similar contention over the two versions of Heinlein’s Podkayne of Mars.”

“While initially a success among science fiction readers, over the next six years word-of-mouth recommendation caused sales to continue to build, requiring numerous subsequent printings of the first Putnam edition. The novel has never been out of print since it was released in 1961. Eventually Stranger in a Strange Land became a cult classic, attracting many readers who would not ordinarily have read a work of science fiction. The late-1960s counterculture, popularized by the hippie movement, was influenced by its themes of individual liberty, self-responsibility, sexual freedom and the influence of organized religion on human culture and government, and adopted the book as something of a manifesto.”

“In 1962 Tim Zell (now Oberon Zell-Ravenheart) and others formed a neopagan religious organization called the Church of All Worlds, modeled after the religion founded by the primary characters in the novel, but Heinlein had no other connection to the project. [1]. (see under Literary significance and criticism)”

“Like many influential works of literature, Stranger made a contribution to the language: specifically, the word grok.” In Heinlein’s invented Martian language, “grok” literally means “to drink” and figuratively means “to understand,” “to love,” and “to be one with.”. One dictionary description was “To understand thoroughly through having empathy with”. This word rapidly became common parlance among science fiction fans, hippies, and computer hackers, and has since entered the Oxford English Dictionary among others. Heinlein wrote most of the novel completely in dialogue, containing often long monologues, and only has a few pages of narration that depict the state of the world during the ensuing plot.”

OK, now we grok the word grok….maybe.
Semper Fidelis
Dick Gaines


The first est seminar was held in October, 1971, at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco with nearly 1,000 in attendance. Erhard and est were known for training people to get “It”, a concept taken from author, teacher and expert communicator Alan Watts.

8 results for: grok

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English Dictionary
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Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)Cite This SourceShare This

–verb (used with object)
1. to understand thoroughly and intuitively.

–verb (used without object)

2. to communicate sympathetically.

[Origin: coined by Robert A. Heinlein in the science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)]
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

To learn more about grok visit Britannica.com

© 2008 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

American Heritage DictionaryCite This SourceShare This

grok Audio Help (grŏk) Pronunciation Key
tr.v. grok·ked, grok·king, groks Slang
To understand profoundly through intuition or empathy.[Coined by Robert A. Heinlein in his Stranger in a Strange Land.]

(Download Now or Buy the Book)

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Online Etymology DictionaryCite This SourceShare This

“to understand empathically,” 1961, arbitrary formation by U.S. science fiction writer Robert Heinlein, in his book “Stranger in a Strange Land.” In use 1960s, perhaps obsolete now.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

WordNetCite This SourceShare This

get the meaning of something; “Do you comprehend the meaning of this letter?”
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

Free On-line Dictionary of ComputingCite This SourceShare This

/grok/, /grohk/ (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”)
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.”
[The Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © 1993-2007 Denis Howe

Jargon FileCite This SourceShare This


/grok/, var. /grohk/ vt. [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.”

Jargon File 4.2.0

Dictionary.com Word of the Day ArchiveCite This SourceShare This


grok was Word of the Day on July 15, 1999.

Dictionary.com Word of the Day

R. W. “Dick” Gaines
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