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or sculk

[skuhlk] /skʌlk/
verb (used without object)
to lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason:
The thief skulked in the shadows.
to move in a stealthy manner; slink:
The panther skulked through the bush.
British. to shirk duty; malinger.
a person who skulks.
a pack or group of foxes.
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 forms
skulker, noun
skulkingly, adverb
1. See lurk. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for skulking
Contemporary Examples
  • Later in the spring, she and Elisabeth saw another kind of heron, an American bittern, skulking in some grass by a swamp.

Historical Examples
  • So it seems; but I will drag him into the light, wherever he is skulking.

    The Little Minister J. M. Barrie
  • These fiery spirits were sick to death of lying and skulking in the trenches.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • He is a sly, skulking and treacherous animal, mostly nocturnal in his destructive visitations.

    Memoirs of Orange Jacobs Orange Jacobs
  • He was skulking about, as near the gypsies as he dared to go.

    The Tale of Jimmy Rabbit Arthur Scott Bailey
  • Paul had been skulking through the woods, but could not see us.

    Oswald Langdon Carson Jay Lee
  • Captain Sedley happened to see him, however, as he was skulking off through the garden.

    The Boat Club Oliver Optic
  • Even then, he might be skulking in the woods, with his black eyes fixed upon the cabin.

    The Lost Trail Edward S. Ellis
  • I found him trying to miche, and nipped him as he was skulking off.

    In the King's Name George Manville Fenn
  • No, sir, you can bet your soul they are skulking in that farm.

British Dictionary definitions for skulking


verb (intransitive)
to move stealthily so as to avoid notice
to lie in hiding; lurk
to shirk duty or evade responsibilities; malinger
a person who skulks
(obsolete) a pack of foxes or other animals that creep about stealthily
Derived Forms
skulker, 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
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Word Origin and History for skulking



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
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