gritch = G = gronk

grok /grok/, var. /grok/ vt.

[common; 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. Connotes intimate and exhaustive knowledge. When you claim to `grok' some knowledge or technique, you are asserting that you have not merely learned it in a detached instrumental way but that it has become part of you, part of your identity. For example, to say that you "know" LISP is simply to assert that you can code in it if necessary - but to say you "grok" LISP is to claim that you have deeply entered the world-view and spirit of the language, with the implication that it has transformed your view of programming. 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 version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

Grok is a term originating in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. In it Mike (the main character) is from Mars, raised in an entirely different culture from anything like that of earth, a key element of which is water. The importance of water is apparent throughout Martian culture and understanding how relevant water is to survival, particularly in an environment which lacks much of this key building block of life. From this understanding we may also "grok in fullness" other ideas from Mars such as: water brotherhood (which is accomplished by sharing a glass of water with another, though it does not have to actually be physical water for the person to become your water brother), to the importance of water-sharing which stems from water brotherhood to the literal meaning of grok (to drink).

When one drinks water what happens is that the liquid is taken into the person’s very physical being, and from that the essences of the two substances mingle together and become one. This is a very roundabout way of saying what grok means: understanding, knowing, feeling, being a part of, "mini-enlightenment"; all of these things rolled into one are what to grok is. Another point is the cherishing which goes into this newly groked object. You can draw from your own experince to understand this cerishment: Ever had a really big day of yardwork in the sun, and looking forward to a nice big glass of ice water, feeling the water flow through you. That, in a sense, is part of what groking truly is.

The reason that understanding how the word “grok” came about within the Martian culture is very important because one of the central themes within the book is an adaptation to culture, and therefore one should look at the culture Mike was raised in, the very core of which in its beginnings was to acquire water and therefore survive, and as the civilization advanced a main driving force of it was to "drink" all things it came across.

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