Definition of streak in English:



  • 1A long, thin line or mark of a different substance or colour from its surroundings.

    ‘a streak of oil’
    • ‘Her cheeks were flushed and tear streaks from her mascara lined them in black rivulets.’
    • ‘They have a thin streak of white scales that extends above their anterior eyes.’
    • ‘As the shadows grew, long red and violet streaks dashed the clouds.’
    • ‘She let go of his neck, placing her slender fingers on his cheek and tracing his jawbone, a streak of red defining it better.’
    • ‘Symptoms are pale green new leaves with black streaks between the veins.’
    • ‘Solid streaks of cerulean blue or vibrant cyan give the small details she depicts a life that can only be attained through extensive, lucid observation.’
    • ‘He was neither young nor old, but streaks of grey hair lined his jet-black hair.’
    • ‘Her hand travelled down the glass, smearing a clear streak through the cloudy vapour that formed on the window's face.’
    • ‘Where the whitewash had peeled away, long streaks of dark wood slashed the walls like welts.’
    • ‘High cirrus clouds form white streaks across its surface and a number of dark storms act as flaws and focus for the eye.’
    • ‘Their heads and faces are plain, without lines or streaks.’
    • ‘Be sure all wax is completely buffed until hard to avoid smears and streaks.’
    • ‘When choosing beef fillet, the outer flesh should be a bright, purplish-red colour laced with thin streaks of white fat.’
    • ‘She had waist-length black hair with bright red streaks and was of medium build.’
    • ‘Rubbing her face with the palm of her hand and smearing the tear streak, Janet sighed and rose from her bed, thinking about all the things her mother used to tell her.’
    • ‘He made some rich dark chocolate and smeared it with streaks of green wasabi that gave it a delicious burn.’
    • ‘Part of the appeal of these paintings lies in the minute variations between the hand-drawn bands and free-running streaks.’
    • ‘Blurry fields of murky browns and grimy grays almost overwhelm the odd streaks and smears of hot lavender and violet, and splashes of blue and green.’
    • ‘Rinse off then give a final wipe over with a weak solution of vinegar and water to produce a sparkling surface free of streaks.’
    • ‘A silver streak lined her neatly pinned hair, though age had not yet made it the dominant color.’
    mark, smear, smudge, stain, blotch
    band, line, strip, stripe, vein, slash, bar
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    1. 1.1Microbiology A narrow line of bacteria smeared on the surface of a solid culture medium.
      • ‘Fresh pullet eggs (White Leghorn Strain) were incubated to obtain the primitive streak stage of development.’
      • ‘A gradient of UV doses was achieved by uncovering successive sections of the bacterial streaks.’
      • ‘Such streaks do not yield confluent growth on medium without uracil, in contrast to prototrophic recombinants.’
      • ‘DNA was added by touching a sterile pipette tip to one of the bacterial streaks and twirling it briefly in the reaction mix.’
      • ‘When the plants were mature, virally infected streaks were excised for RNA extraction.’
  • 2An element of a specified kind in someone's character.

    ‘there's a streak of insanity in the family’
    ‘Lucy had a ruthless streak’
    • ‘His sublime midfield skills were offset by a ruthless streak which lingers in the memory.’
    • ‘He is known as a courteous man, but with a ruthless streak.’
    • ‘It's very controversial because there's a strong streak in popular culture that goes back to common law.’
    • ‘Smith possessed a vainglorious streak to his character, but also showed great valour and judgement.’
    • ‘Today's reading highlights the jealous streak in his character.’
    • ‘Ostensibly, Becky is a figure of feminine fierceness, and perhaps her streak of opportunism is a positive element of her character.’
    • ‘His ruthless streak was demonstrated when he dumped Burley after a reported disagreement over team selection.’
    • ‘He acknowledges she was capricious and had a ruthless streak.’
    • ‘Krystal's independent streak bubbled to the surface again.’
    • ‘It's also the pressure of culture and religion which can cause depression or the rebellious streak.’
    • ‘Frye is a double threat on offense; a solid perimeter shooter with a fearless streak.’
    • ‘This cultured exterior hides a streak of juvenile depravity.’
    • ‘He was handsome and well-mannered but there was an underlying streak, just under the surface, she didn't like.’
    • ‘His violent streak is said to have surfaced following the death of his 20-month-old baby son in 1987.’
    • ‘Rather, it was a combination of both mental and physical elements that kept the streak alive.’
    • ‘Has there really been an anti-market streak in Indian political culture with the prevalence of Gandhian values and emphasis on group equity and rights?’
    • ‘Her uncle always possessed a materialistic streak to his character, even when it came down to breaks between appointments.’
    • ‘The Aberdeen defender is a youngster with a mischievous streak never far from the surface.’
    • ‘He remained married and close to his family but despite a narrow streak of puritanism in his make-up, lived openly for years with his mistress, a chorus girl and minor actress, less than half his age.’
    • ‘It's a kind of anti-intellectualism, a streak in contemporary culture that is sceptical of the mature, educated adult - as if to be that is the worst of all possible sins.’
    element, vein, trace, touch, dash, strain
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    1. 2.1[usually with adjective]A continuous period of specified success or luck.
      ‘the theatre is on a winning streak’
      • ‘The solid defense that propelled the winning streak was in top form.’
      • ‘After an eight-game losing streak earlier this month, their chances of making the postseason were as low as Rogers' popularity with reporters.’
      • ‘He finished at 283, ending his streak of 40 consecutive stroke-play tournaments under par.’
      • ‘The longer his losing streak continues the less likely he is to leap the final psychological barrier.’
      • ‘Turning to stocks, the Nasdaq continued its losing streak today.’
      • ‘I've often argued for Castillo, citing a five-year streak of solid OBP numbers, along with good speed, and solid defense.’
      • ‘The team entered last weekend on a season-high six-game losing streak, and it appears other teams are catching up to Minnesota.’
      • ‘This losing streak continued against Trinidad.’
      • ‘But if that losing streak from last season carries into 2003, all bets are off.’
      • ‘When he stands next to someone on a winning streak and bets on their numbers, luck leaves the table.’
      • ‘Will New York's uncanny streak of luck continue?’
      • ‘Stock markets will break their three-year losing streak, but the recovery will be unspectacular, Irish business leaders said.’
      • ‘In the midst of a losing streak, a contingent of backup players complained about playing time.’
      • ‘Only the past two losses in the team's three-game losing streak were winnable.’
      • ‘And the racing fanatic was set to boost his winnings to a massive £2 million jackpot if his lucky streak continued.’
      • ‘It seemed like Ian was always working on some solid streak, as he had six hitting streaks over six games, though none over eleven.’
      • ‘It was no contest the rest of the way as Dallas avoided its first four-game losing streak in more than three years.’
      • ‘The index fell for a fifth consecutive day on Friday, its longest losing streak in nine months.’
      • ‘They have lost nine matches in a row, and with a batting line-up so inexperienced, that losing streak could well stretch to 13 by the time this tournament is done.’
      • ‘I understand that South Carolina, less than a year removed from a 21-game losing streak, is at the top of the East Division.’
      period, spell, stretch, run, time
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  • 3informal An act of running naked in a public place so as to shock or amuse others.

    ‘a streak for charity’


  • 1[with object] Cover (a surface) with streaks.

    ‘tears streaking her face, Cynthia looked up’
    ‘his beard was streaked with grey’
    • ‘There were bruises and her face was streaked with tears.’
    • ‘Her eyes were red, and her cheeks were streaked with tears.’
    • ‘Her cheeks were streaked with a mixture of tears and mascara.’
    • ‘It was streaked with tears and his shirt was covered in blood.’
    • ‘Now the front of him was streaked with mud as well.’
    • ‘The sky was streaked with gold and red now, a wonderful sight to comprehend.’
    • ‘The sky is streaked with blues and pinks, and at the bottom of the frame, the sand is glowing in the fading light.’
    • ‘Each petal was streaked with brown, wilting from the cold.’
    • ‘It is the morning of New Year's Eve, 2003, and the sky above my home in Brooklyn is streaked with jet trails, portents of unseen danger.’
    • ‘Outside each, fruit trees, figs and vines were streaked with the ubiquitous dust.’
    • ‘Maria's face was streaked with mascara, and Luke was clenching his fists.’
    • ‘Out on the roof, the sky was black streaked with light.’
    • ‘All of these windows were streaked with blinds, forbidding the light from entering what lay behind the stoic structure.’
    • ‘Her hair was tousled and fell loosely around her face, which was streaked with what looked to be a combination of ash and dirt.’
    • ‘The sun has streaked the front, so it looks more blond and less strawberry.’
    • ‘The hazy sky was streaked with white clouds.’
    • ‘Collette's eyes were red and watery, and her face was streaked with tears.’
    • ‘The lane is streaked with curvilinear snow, in places trodden into blue ice.’
    • ‘He uncovered his face, which was streaked with tears.’
    • ‘The sky was streaked with pink highlights as the sun slowly sank.’
    mark, daub, smear, smudge, stain
    stripe, band, bar, fleck
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    1. 1.1Dye (hair) with long, thin lines of a different colour to that of one's natural hair colour.
      [with object and complement] ‘hair that was streaked blonde’
      • ‘‘It was good,’ she says, from under a thatch of mad, streaked hair.’
      • ‘Ian's black hair was streaked through with red, giving him a rather intimidating aura despite his small build.’
      • ‘A matted clump of gray streaked blond hair sat on his head, looking like it should fall off as he leaned over and stared down at me.’
      • ‘Yuki laughed and walked over to pick the twig from Keiko's long raven black and pink streaked hair.’
      • ‘People were showing up with blue hair, green hair, streaked hair, whole works of art painted on their heads.’
      • ‘I was one of those people who liked to play with hair colors, and today my shoulder length brown hair was streaked red to match my outfit.’
      • ‘She became snobby and rude, and streaked her hair blonde.’
      • ‘Brushing her long mousy brown-and-grey streaked hair out of her face, she joins the queue behind me.’
      • ‘So all he had to do to gain passage into the Vodas Village main Undertunnel was tell his name and peel back the hood on his cloak to show his odd blue streaked blond hair.’
      • ‘Liz nudged her towards a chair next to a boy with naturally streaked blond hair that was down past his ears.’
      • ‘He'd be sitting on the kitchen counter most likely, running his hands through his red streaked blonde hair.’
      • ‘Across from me, Ashley chuckled and shook her head, causing her white streaked hair to stiffly follow her movements.’
      • ‘His hair isn't streaked blue, or red, or a psychedelic purple.’
      • ‘The robber is described as about 5ft 7ins tall, in his late teens or early 20s, of slim build and with possibly streaked hair.’
      • ‘I got up, streaked my hair blue, and put on black pants and a shimmery black spaghetti-strap top.’
      • ‘They'd streak my hair cheap, and they used temporary dye.’
      • ‘Heldrow shrugged, feeling the hood of his cloak slip down and reveal his blue streaked blond hair.’
    2. 1.2Microbiology Smear (a needle, swab, etc.) over the surface of a solid culture medium to initiate a culture.
      ‘swabs were streaked directly on blood agar plates’
      • ‘They did germinate on synthetic medium, but were inviable when streaked onto solid rich medium.’
      • ‘Strains were streaked on rich medium, and 24 colonies from each strain were randomly isolated and restreaked.’
      • ‘Transformants were streaked on appropriate omission medium and single colonies were picked for further analysis.’
      • ‘To determine the presence of yeast in cloacae, swabs were streaked onto Sabouraud's dextrose agar and incubated for 14 days.’
      • ‘Deletion suppressors obtained were streaked onto SD medium and incubated at 35.5° for 5 days.’
  • 2[no object, with adverbial of direction] Move very fast in a specified direction.

    ‘the cat streaked across the street’
    • ‘He came slowly in through the plants, the cat streaking past him in alarm.’
    • ‘Thinking it was Jude, she leapt up and streaked across the room.’
    • ‘Moss attacks vertically, using his speed to streak downfield and his size and leaping ability to snatch passes away from defenders.’
    • ‘On the streets, cars streaked by with their feral engines roaring and blood-red beams of lights sparkling, like demonic eyes from their exterior.’
    • ‘He immediately fed senior point guard Chris Hernandez, who was streaking down the right sideline.’
    • ‘While Natasha helped her friend up, he streaked after the salamander, which moved surprisingly fast for such a little, young thing.’
    • ‘An alley cat streaked about the opposite side of the way, catching at a rat of some sort.’
    • ‘My anger wore off quickly as I walked home, but not before I had unnecessarily kicked a stone hard and barely missed a giant black cat that had streaked past.’
    • ‘There was a flash of light between them, streaking down so fast Jennifer didn't catch any glare until it was over.’
    • ‘While I staggered on, the children streaked ahead, striking up conversations left, right and centre.’
    • ‘He streaked away into the sky, disappearing from view almost immediately.’
    • ‘Dozens of missiles streaked out of the aircraft.’
    • ‘They streaked through the streets to highlight what they claimed was cruelty to the bulls.’
    • ‘Doors flew by me as I streaked down the street, nearly blind in the dark.’
    • ‘Lightning streaked across the sky, and collected into a huge ball.’
    • ‘His heart pounding near to bursting, he streaked across the shadowed streets.’
    • ‘A flowing move through six pairs of hands sent Mark Walsh streaking over in the corner but the conversion attempt went inches wide.’
    • ‘Soon the order was obeyed and six missiles streaked off and into the depth of the fleet.’
    • ‘The loading vehicle sped off, streaking down the street until it was out of view.’
    • ‘Somehow it missed her head, but pain streaked through her left leg and she couldn't move.’
    race, dash, rush, run, sprint, bolt, dart, gallop, career, charge, shoot, hurtle, hare, bound, fly, speed, zoom, go hell for leather, plunge, dive, whisk, scurry, scuttle, scamper, scramble
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  • 3informal [no object] Run naked in a public place so as to shock or amuse others.

    ‘the singer admitted to streaking in his home town in the seventies’
    • ‘And in the 1970s, the fad was streaking: running naked through campus.’
    • ‘The door flew open suddenly and two naked blurs streaked past.’
    • ‘He became famous for such antics as dancing on table tops, enlivening parties by performing bump and grind striptease acts and, once, streaking naked around a swimming pool.’
    • ‘The rugby league world has been spared the sight of him streaking naked around a pitch for at least another year.’
    • ‘At least 20 naked male students streaked past fellow students competing in athletics competition last night.’
    • ‘Two men arrested for streaking naked at a rugby match in Newlands on Saturday would no longer be welcome at the ground, the Western Province Rugby Football Union said yesterday.’
    • ‘We want to publicise ourselves by basically streaking.’
    • ‘The company has been pushing their new line of running shoes, the most high-profile ad so far being the streaking naked man at the soccer game.’
    • ‘People ally themselves with the dead for the same reason they tell fantastic tales or streak naked through the college quad: to command attention.’
    • ‘He used to enjoy streaking naked around the streets of his hometown and even got stopped by police for committing the lewd prank.’


  • like a streak

    • informal Very fast.

      ‘he is off like a streak’
      • ‘Then he was off like a streak, running up the hill.’
      • ‘Of all the fish Charlie is always the first to spot your approach, crossing the pool like a streak of greased lightning to stick his head out of the water.’
      • ‘Suddenly she took off, like a streak, straight ahead, and vanished out of sight.’
      • ‘The shark would probably be off like a streak if he saw a man diving toward him.’
      quickly, fast, swiftly, speedily, at speed, at full speed, at the speed of light, post-haste, hotfoot, at full tilt, as fast as one's legs can carry one, at a gallop, expeditiously, briskly, promptly
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  • streak of lightning

    • A flash of lightning.

      ‘a streak of lightning split the sky’
      • ‘She ignored it, slammed her car door anyway, and flew from the house like a gold streak of lightning.’
      • ‘She took off after him like a streak of lightning, anger burning away any of her past fears.’
      • ‘It was only afterwards that one of the men said there was no thunder, just a streak of lightning and the tree broke and fell.’
      • ‘A streak of lightning hopped from one end of a cloud to another.’
      • ‘He hadn't yet decided when a loud clap of thunder made him jump, coinciding with a streak of lightning.’
      • ‘When a streak of lightning flashes across the sky, you often hear a crack of thunder several seconds later.’
      • ‘Just then a streak of lightning lit the stairway.’
      • ‘I was first off the mark as a yellow and black streak of lightning engulfed my lure with a crash that might easily have stopped a dicky heart.’
      • ‘A streak of lightning struck a nearby tree, followed by deafening thunder.’
      • ‘Emma, as if to discount the effects of the sprained ankle, ‘nonplussed her opponents… by dodging here and there with the rapidity of a streak of lightning.’’
      bolt, shaft, flash, beam
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Old English strica, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch streek and German Strich, also to strike. The sense ‘run naked’ was originally US slang.