Some slang is eternal, some is so fucking ephemeral that after 2 months nobody knows what it meant. I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff and I’m really sad that I, as a foreigner, can’t really incorporate much of this stuff without looking like a douche bag who’s trying to hard (1). So it’s one of my private pleasures to peruse my American Slang Dictionary and I came across this one:

grok (GRAHK) v 1 To communicate sympathetically : all rapping and grokking over the sound it made / All Romans grokked like Greeks (1961+ Counterculture & students) 2 (also grok on) To get into exquisite sympathy with : She met him at an acid-rock ball and she grokked him / The Handbook of Highway Engineering, they totally grokked on it (1961+ Counterculture & students) 3 To understand : You’ve come to grok that Cronenberg’s narrative is merely the pretense for his imagery (1980+ Computer) [coined by Robert A. Heinlein as a Martian word in the 1961 science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land]

In Heinlein’s book, which Charlie Manson liked a lot by the way, it’s defined as

Grok means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed—to merge, blend, intermarry, lose identity in group experience. It means almost everything that we mean by religion, philosophy, and science—and it means as little to us (because of our Earthly assumptions) as color means to a blind man.

Anyway, it was a bestseller back then and, fuck it, I still I dare you use it in casual conversation! Also, note the banner on the last website linked to informing you that flesh-eating bacteria are killing Americans and the government is trying to cover it up. This is the good stuff, people!

(1) Well, alright, probably everybody who uses outdated slang looks like a douche bag who’s trying to hard. Dig?


2 thoughts on “Grok

  1. proud to say that I have and do use the word “grok” in everyday conversation.

    Also I always pronounce the line “talk back rock” from the verse of that Skinny Puppy song “Warlock” as “throk my grok.”

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