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"to understand empathically," 1961, arbitrary formation by U.S. science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) in his book "Stranger in a Strange Land." In popular use 1960s; perhaps obsolete now except in internet technology circles.
[coined by Robert A Heinlein as a Martian word in the 1961 science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land]
/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."