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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. 2018.
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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
  • 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 Republic Plato
  • 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
  • Some of them might be skulking around, glad to take a shot at us.

  • I'm not of the sort that go about skulking under false names.

    One Day More Joseph Conrad
  • Officers have the right of resigning, and some of them have the habit of skulking, I have heard.

    Shoulder-Straps Henry Morford
  • Or had the skulking Martian outside broken this lock as he had broken the other?

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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