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[kahr-king] /ˈkɑr kɪŋ/
adjective, Archaic.
Origin of carking
1300-50 (for gerund); 1555-65 (for current sense); Middle English; see cark, -ing2


[kahrk] /kɑrk/ Archaic.
care or worry.
verb (used with or without object)
to worry.
1250-1300; Middle English carken to be anxious, Old English becarcian, apparently derivative of car- (base of caru care) + -k suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for carking
Historical Examples
  • And again Kirkwood sought Stryker, his carking query ready on his lips.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • Meantime, I was not to know the carking anxiety of the out-of-work.

    The Message Alec John Dawson
  • Memory worked with it—the carking memory of a failure of courage.

    Double Harness Anthony Hope
  • Distrustfulness, and carking cares, and contrivances for time to come.

  • He was sensible of a dull, carking shame, and yet was shameless.

    The Destroying Angel

    Louis Joseph Vance
  • Doubt—indefinite, carking doubt had taken possession of her.

    Desperate Remedies Thomas Hardy
  • Alluding to its tenacity of life and the carking wear of care.

  • But at midnight I sprang up—no longer would I endure the carking suspense.

    Prince Zaleski M.P. Shiel
  • In truth, it was so; heavy with the weariness caused by carking care.

    Verner's Pride Mrs. Henry Wood
  • It was just something—a sense of the carking hanging over life, and now and then turning to a real mischance or a heartache.

British Dictionary definitions for carking


noun, verb
an archaic word for worry (sense 1), worry (sense 2), worry (sense 11), worry (sense 13)
Word Origin
C13 carken to burden, from Old Northern French carquier, from Late Latin carricāre to load


(intransitive) (Austral, slang) to break down; die
Word Origin
perhaps from the cry of the crow, as a carrion feeding bird
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for carking



"to be weighed down or oppresssed by cares or worries, be concerned about," early 12c., a figurative use, via Anglo-French from Old North French carkier "to load, burden," from Late Latin carcare (see charge (v.)). Cf. Old North French carguer "charger," corresponding to Old French chargier. The literal sense in English, "to load, put a burden on," is from c.1300. Related: Carked; carking. Also as a noun in Middle English and after, "charge, responsibility; anxiety, worry; burden on the mind or spirit," (c.1300), from Anglo-French karke, from Old North French form of Old French carche, variant of charge "load, burden, imposition."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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