Definition of stoke in English:



[with object]
  • 1Add coal or other solid fuel to (a fire, furnace, boiler, etc.)

    ‘he stoked up the barbecue’
    • ‘She strode out of the tent and watched him stoking the fire for a few moments, there was a blustery wind making it stutter and struggle.’
    • ‘The other is fat-bellied, slack muscled and poor yet shovels in expensive long-term poisons as though stoking the boiler of a battleship.’
    • ‘She then fell to her knees and worked for a few moments at stoking the fire, tapping the logs with the metal prod first and then using the bellows, her fingers warming as the fire flared higher.’
    • ‘In the evenings, my mother read to us, and we knitted socks and sweaters for my dad in the army, stoked the fire and listened to the radio, mainly to Children's Hour, and the news, of course.’
    • ‘Instead he moved a few paces away, sitting by the dying fire and stoking the flames higher.’
    • ‘We lit a bunch of candles, stoked the fire and watched our neighbor decide that a power outage was a good time for snowblowing.’
    • ‘The card showed a 19th century photograph of a young boy, no more than eight, stoking the furnace in a grimy workshop, surrounded by men beavering away along a production line.’
    • ‘But the caretaker who has to stoke six boilers each day, cart 12 puds of fuel, carry water on her shoulders so that staff can wash their hands, she receives 12 rubles, has no work clothes, no day off, and no holidays.’
    • ‘The furnaces that fed them fizzled out long ago, the coal that stoked the fires lies unexcavated in flooded mines.’
    • ‘We spent three hours stoking the fire and drinking - admittedly no great hardship - till I eventually sidled down the hall while my friend stood by ready to enter the security code if I tripped the alarm.’
    • ‘On a dank autumnal afternoon in Glasgow's west end the light is liquid, a day to draw the blinds and stoke the fire.’
    • ‘After stoking the fire, he circles the room again, searching for cracks and crevices where wind might be seeping in, and the life-sustaining warmth of the fire is escaping.’
    • ‘On washdays, the tub was filled with cold water using buckets, and a wood or coal fire was stoked up.’
    • ‘I remember my father going out to stoke the furnaces to make sure they didn't go out.’
    • ‘Although feathers do a fine job of insulating a small bird's body from cold, food is the fuel that stokes its inner fires, keeping its metabolism generating crucial heat and energy.’
    • ‘Leaning over, she took hold of an iron stick and with it poked at the fire, stoking the dying flames.’
    • ‘It's very smoky and mysterious and we all sit in silence while a very serene Lap lady in traditional blue and red embroidered costume moves around the room, stoking the fire and watching us carefully.’
    • ‘He agreed as he alternately stoked the fire and tossed blueberries into the coals.’
    • ‘On the first deck, the level at which you board, there is a quite large opening down to the engine room two levels below, so that you can see the engines and the firemen stoking the boilers.’
    • ‘Around the little valley, other families are stirring, stoking their fires, planning chores, coming to grips with another day in the wilds of Montana.’
    add fuel to, mend, keep burning, tend, fuel
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Encourage or incite (a strong emotion or tendency)
      ‘his composure had the effect of stoking her anger’
      ‘the Chancellor was stoking up a consumer boom’
      • ‘Exactly 100 years ago this week, Wales was in the midst of a fervent religious revival led by a young Methodist, stoking fanatical excitement and emotional excesses.’
      • ‘Americans took precautions on Tuesday to counter the threat of germ warfare, their fears stoked by the death of one man in Florida from anthrax and a positive test for the disease returned by another man.’
      • ‘It stokes fears and antagonisms so familiar that they're apt to seem natural.’
      • ‘Unanswered, its effect is to stoke resentment and encourage conflict.’
      • ‘It also stokes the emotions, making physical violence more likely.’
      • ‘This was enough to stoke fear and panic among them.’
      • ‘Undue fear of smallpox, a virus that, if it appears at all, will spread slowly - has stoked unnecessary fear and led to a panicked call for a vaccine which can cause harmful side affects.’
      • ‘When I asked to meet him in person, his publicity people turned cagey, stoking my curiosity even more.’
      • ‘Government diverts the debate by stoking hysteria on whether animal rights activists are terrorists, when to terrorise someone with threats of violence or to damage their property is illegal anyway.’
      • ‘Instead, it has stoked the anger of those who see Charles's refusal to cut ties with his aide as a form of weakness.’
      • ‘He and club officials were accused of unnecessarily stoking supporters' emotions with claims that the date showed anti-Celtic bias, and they lost the argument.’
      • ‘The police were acting on behalf of the state Labor government, which has repeatedly sought to outdo the federal government in stoking fears of terrorism.’
      • ‘She'd stoked the partisan passions of her audience - even as she'd sounded an above-partisanship note of concern about the state of the Republic.’
      • ‘There were some early quotes in the novel that peaked my interest and stoked my hopes for a story with a deeper meaning.’
      • ‘With the rise of oil wealth, the gap between rich and poor widened, stoking the social discontent that would erupt in the revolution.’
      • ‘She speculated that the shifting social status of women during the war years stoked male anxiety about female bonding and independence from men.’
      • ‘These ads are geared to stoke voter emotions and fears to hammer a candidate on a controversial issue.’
      • ‘Leftists thrive on blind emotion and stoking that emotion is not helpful.’
      • ‘He is a quietly-assured personality, and the pursuit of a physical-education qualification at Rosewell High School in Coatbridge stoked his interest in the mechanics of physiology.’
      • ‘He stoked interest and intrigue by initially hinting that he might miss this year's race to pursue other goals such as the one-day classics, or the world hour record, only to return next year to try for his seventh win.’
    2. 1.2informal no object Consume a large quantity of food or drink to give one energy.
      ‘Carol was at the coffee machine, stoking up for the day’
      • ‘They stoked up in all our woods and along our shores before starting their long flights.’
      • ‘It is a big, brash, gutsy engine, stoking up a lot of energy for seemingly little effort, and it is just perfect for a big, brash, gutsy car.’
      • ‘Parents trying to feed their nestlings can keep their own bellies filled by stoking up at our suet and seed feeders, but as for their young… we don't know.’
      • ‘The following morning, after stoking up well for the day with a self-service full English breakfast, we headed for Our Dynamic Earth, a £34 million project built on three levels.’
      • ‘A steaming bowl of mohinga adorned with vegetable fritters, slices of fish cake and hard-boiled eggs and enhanced with the flavor of chopped coriander leaves, morsels of crispy fried garlic, fish sauce, a squeezing of lime and chilies is a wonderful way of stoking up for the day ahead.’


Mid 17th century: back-formation from stoker.