I've just been looking up the etymology of the word "strike," as in “The pedestrian was struck by a vehicle.” (I was curious about why we always seem to use "struck" in this situation).
A quick Google search reveals that it comes from the Old English strican, which means “to pass lightly over, stroke, smooth, rub lightly” and is related to the German streichen, "to stroke." This of course seems much different than the current usage, "to strike a blow," or to hit hard. The Online Etymology Dictionary says that the sense of dealing a blow came around by the early 14th century in Middle English, but I can't find anything to explain how this may have happened.
I'm very curious about how this word went from referring to a smooth and caressing action to a hard and damage-dealing one. Any clues?