I'm in the middle of watching the TV series "Northern Exposure." In one of the episodes, one person died because of an accident.

Can I say/write: "He was struck by a satellite."

Is it correct to use the verb "strike" here? The person was hit by the satellite, so I wondered if the verb "strike" suited here.

  • What is it about the definition of "strike" that makes you think it would not be applicable here? Aug 29 at 19:21
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    @DJClayworth Maybe OP wasn't sure whether the word can be used when not referring to lightning (which it can)? Aug 29 at 19:54
  • @DJClayworth According to one of the definitions of the word "strike" [(of a disaster, disease, or other unwelcome phenomenon) occur suddenly and have harmful or damaging effects on.) "a major earthquake struck the island"], it fits perfectly. Still, I'm not a native English speaker, so I need more examples and confirmations to make sure I can use some verbs in a specific context. That's why I asked the question. I guess, I was looking for reassurance. Aug 29 at 20:18
  • Was the person floating in space?
    – Lambie
    Sep 12 at 15:26
  • What type of satellite was it? Was it a space satellite? Was it a meteorite maybe? Did it fall from the sky?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 13 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is a correct usage of the word “strike.” One meaning of strike is “one thing hits another thing” - and that is exactly what happened here.

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    Correct? I suppose. But it also sounds a bit peculiar. Usually the expression to be struck by an X is used to describe pedestrians in situations where X is some vehicle. (Yes, X can also be “bolt of lightning.”) I’d say that hit would be more idiomatic. Of course, in the spirit of Northern Exposure, one might wish to adopt its quirky tone, and if so, then maybe struck is the way to go. Aug 29 at 19:54
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    @PaulTanenbaum - You can be struck by a bullet, a train, a rock, a piece of ice from a plane's toilet, a fragment of a burst flywheel, among other things. I see no oddity in the use of that verb. Aug 29 at 20:47
  • Yeah, @MichaelHarvey, maybe it’s a feature of my dialect. I can’t put my thumb on it. But at least one other user upvoted it. I dunno. Aug 29 at 21:50
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    Not to mention an idea or thought. Aug 30 at 1:01
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    Not to mention dumb. Or thirteen. Aug 30 at 1:08

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