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skulk

or sculk

[skuhlk]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason: The thief skulked in the shadows.
  2. to move in a stealthy manner; slink: The panther skulked through the bush.
  3. British. to shirk duty; malinger.
noun
  1. a person who skulks.
  2. a pack or group of foxes.
  3. Rare. an act or instance of skulking.

Origin of skulk

1175–1225; Middle English < Scandinavian (not in ON); compare Danish, Norwegian skulke, Swedish skolka play hooky
Related formsskulk·er, nounskulk·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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1. See lurk.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for skulking

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Their notion of war was midnight skulking and shooting from behind safe cover.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Certainly not; for that sort of thing is an excuse for skulking, and has been the ruin of many an army.

  • The savages, flushed with success, were skulking every where.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

  • He thought he was in Castletown, skulking under the walls of the castle.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • The man that is tame in times of peace is a skulking woman in times of war.

    Love-at-Arms

    Raphael Sabatini


British Dictionary definitions for skulking

skulk

verb (intr)
  1. to move stealthily so as to avoid notice
  2. to lie in hiding; lurk
  3. to shirk duty or evade responsibilities; malinger
noun
  1. a person who skulks
  2. obsolete a pack of foxes or other animals that creep about stealthily
Derived Formsskulker, noun

Word Origin

C13: of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian skulka to lurk, Swedish skolka, Danish skulke to shirk
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

Word Origin and History for skulking

skulk

v.

c.1200, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Norwegian skulke "to shirk, malinger," Danish skulke "to spare oneself, shirk," Swedish skolka "to shirk, skulk, slink, play truant." Common in Middle English but lacking in 15c.-16c. records; possibly reborrowed 17c. Related: Skulked; skulking; skulker; skulkery.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper