Word of the Day: Stricken

The BBC News website has the headline, “Stricken cargo ship Modern Express heading for French coast”.

Stricken is used as an adjective and means “affected by, touched by” or “incapacitated, disabled”. The word comes from the verb to strike (frapper, heurter), – it is the past participle (strike, struck, stricken).

However, stricken isn’t generally used as a participle. Today people say strike, struck, have struck.


We can use stricken to form compound adjectives:

grief-stricken – endeuillé (lit; ‘frappé par la tristesse’)
Poverty-stricken – très pauvre

When we talk about disease, disasters:

Stricken with cancer
Stricken by an earthquake