Different Strokes For Different Folks

Meanings of “Different Strokes For Different Folks”

The phrase “different strokes for different folks” means different people need to be dealt with differently, or that some ways are suitable for some people and not for all people.

Origin of “Different Strokes For Different Folks”

The phrase “different strokes for different folks” is stated to have originated in the United States during the 60s. It is stated that Muhammad Ali, the boxer, was the first person who used this phrase during his interview in 1966 with Cleveland Williams when explaining his boxing style in the ring. He stated that “I got different strokes for different folks.” Since then, the phrase has become very popular.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Everyday People by Ann Wilson and Sly Stone

I am everyday people, yeah yeah
There is a long hair that doesn’t like the short hair
For bein’ such a rich one that will not help the poor one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo.”

These lines occur in a lyric where they open with the resolve of the singers that though they are ordinary people, yet they are different. People having short hair do not like the other having long hair, and the rich do not like the poor. It means that different strokes are suitable for different people. Therefore, it is a metaphorical representation of the phrase.

Example #2

Different Strokes: An Intimate Memoir for Stroke Survivors, Families by Steven Boorstein

I hope my insights and somewhat unorthodox practices will deliver many inspiring and entertaining moments to help you through your personal hell, whatever that may be. However, as inspiring and entertaining as my story may be, we know that different folks have different strokes. They are in here, too: I honor and deeply respect the twenty incredible survivors and spouses I interviewed for Part Two – some of whom are much worse off than me.

This passage occurs in a book where the author who is a journalist, has interviewed various people. He relates this story in this book of how he interviewed those people. He also presents the interviews in the second part of the book. The phrase shows how he presents his story and stories of others stating that not the same stroke applies to all the people. Therefore, it is a denotative use of the phrase.

Example #3

Common Phrases: And the Amazing Stories Behind Them by Max Cryer

The genesis of the expression is unknown, though accredited to the southern states of the U. S. Strokes may refer either to the sport of rowing, or to a recreation of a more intimate kind. Muhammad Ali was reported in the Kansas newspaper the Great Bend Daily Tribune to have used it. But a greater impact came two years later when the release of the number-one hit single Everyday People by Sly and the Family Stone with the catch line: “Different strokes for different folks.”

This passage not only cites the first reference of this phrase, but also explains the context in which it was used by Muhammad Ali, the great boxer, and the newspaper reference in which it was given. The major boost, however, was provided by Everyday People, using this phrase as its headline. Therefore, the phrase shows its denotative use.

Example #4

Star Trek: Ambush by Dave Galanter, Greg Brodeur

“Well,” God said with a wink, “you know the saying, ‘different strokes for different folks.?’ Sometimes it takes a different decibel. Once it’s known how loud I can yell, backtalk is at a minimum.” The captain looked out across his bridge met by the knowing glances of his crew. “Right, people?”

This passage occurs in a prose book about the USS da Vinci supply line written by David Galanter and Greg Brodeur. This is about the conversation between two marines about how different things are suitable for different people and different places. This is true for the supply line as well. Therefore, the phrase shows its denotative use.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Manny never treated or responded to everyone similary as he believed in different strokes for different people.”

Example #2: “I have never thought that different strokes are suitable for different folks, for I have mostly berated everybody whoever comes my way.”

Example #3: “The teacher was not the same with every child as she belived in different stroke for different folks. That was her method of handling kids.”

Example #4: “It is said that psychologists dealt with each patiently differently as they abided by the rule, different strokes for different folks.”

Example #5: “Having sensed different reactions from the family, he thought he should apply the different strokes for different folks technique.”