Grok ˈɡrɒk is a neologism coined by American writer Robert A. Heinlein for his 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. While the Oxford English Dictionary summarizes the meaning of grok as "to understand intuitively or by empathy, to establish rapport with" and "to empathize or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment", Heinlein's concept is far more nuanced, with critic Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr. observing that "the book's major theme can be seen as an extended definition of the term." The concept of grok garnered significant critical scrutiny in the years after the book's initial publication. The term and aspects of the underlying concept have become part of communities such as computer science.
Descriptions in Stranger in a Strange Land
Critic David E. Wright Sr. points out that in the 1991 "uncut" edition of Stranger, the word grok "was used first without any explicit definition on page 22" and continued