adjective Archaic.

Origin of carking

1300–50 (for gerund); 1555–65 (for current sense); Middle English; see cark, -ing2




care or worry.

verb (used with or without object)

to worry.

Origin of cark

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for carking

Historical Examples of carking

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for carking



noun, verb

Word Origin for cark

C13 carken to burden, from Old Northern French carquier, from Late Latin carricāre to load




(intr) Australian slang to break down; die

Word Origin for cark

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

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