When I was memorizing words in an APP, I found the following sentence.

In Geneva, a historic deal is struck.

The app provides an explanation in another language that basically means the deal was blocked, it probably not happen soon. I looked up the work "strike" in dictionary, and found this explanation:

[AmE informal] to not be successful at something

This seems fits the context well. But it's different from the app provided explanation. To corroborate, I put the original sentence in Google Translation and translate it to my native language. Surprisingly, the translation literally means "In Geneva, a historic deal was reached".

What does the original sentence really mean? Thanks.

  • I think the app was confused if it translated it as blocked. That would be a translation of stuck not struck
    – mdewey
    Apr 23, 2021 at 11:04
  • Interesting idea. I'll remember their difference. Thanks for mentioning. The app is poorly built and I believe there are more errors... Apr 23, 2021 at 11:06

2 Answers 2


Short answer: the phrase, "In Geneva, a historic deal is struck" means: some people successfully make a very important agreement in Geneva.

Strike is one of those seemingly simple verbs that actually has very many meanings, some of them quite different from others.

Look at this entry in the Merriam-Webster dictionary: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/strike

There are 18 meanings for the verb when it's used intransitively (without a direct object, like in, "The two boats struck in the narrow channel") and another 24 meanings when it's used transitively (with a direct object, like in, "He struck me with his fist").

On top of that, we have idiomatic expressions like strike out, which comes from baseball (where it means to fail to hit a pitch three times, causing an "out" for your team).

One common expression with strike is to strike a deal which essentially just means to make a deal.

This expression is common enough that the words can be reordered and it will still sound natural: they strike a deal, a deal was struck, striking a deal can be hard work, etc.

  • Thank you for the explanation! Apr 23, 2021 at 3:24

The "agreement was reached" is the correct meaning in this example. There are some cases where "struck" would mean blocked but this is not such a use.

For example, "The parties struck off negotiations" would have the meaning that negotiations ceased (for whatever reason).

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