any of numerous, chiefly Old World oscine birds, of the family Alaudidae, characterized by an unusually long, straight hind claw, especially the skylark, Alauda arvensis.
any of various similar birds of other families, as the meadowlark and titlark.

Origin of lark

before 900; Middle English larke, Old English lāwerce; cognate with German Lerche, Dutch leeuwerik, Old Norse lǣvirki




a merry, carefree adventure; frolic; escapade.
innocent or good-natured mischief; a prank.
something extremely easy to accomplish, succeed in, or to obtain: That exam was a lark.

verb (used without object)

to have fun; frolic; romp.
to behave mischievously; play pranks.
Fox Hunting. (of a rider) to take jumps unnecessarily: He tired his horse by larking on the way home.

Origin of lark

First recorded in 1805–15; origin uncertain
Related formslark·er, nounlark·i·ness, lark·ish·ness, nounlark·ing·ly, adverblark·ish, lark·y, adjectivelark·ish·ly, adverblark·some, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for lark

prank, carousal, dido, romp, outing, adventure, antic, spree, frolic, bird

Examples from the Web for lark

Contemporary Examples of lark

Historical Examples of lark

  • Moreover, what was so real for her was only too plainly a lark for him.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Though you go to bed with the nightingale, you rise with the lark.

  • No one who works on a morning newspaper ever takes advantage of the lark's example.

  • Rather a lark I might have thought it but for the false military title.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • And now their voices seemed to them as clear as the notes of a lark.

British Dictionary definitions for lark




any brown songbird of the predominantly Old World family Alaudidae, esp the skylark: noted for their singing
short for titlark, meadowlark
(often capital) any of various slender but powerful fancy pigeons, such as the Coburg Lark
up with the lark up early in the morning

Word Origin for lark

Old English lāwerce, lǣwerce, of Germanic origin; related to German Lerche, Icelandic lǣvirki




a carefree adventure or frolic
a harmless piece of mischief
what a lark! how amusing!

verb (intr)

(often foll by about) to have a good time by frolicking
to play a prank
Derived Formslarker, nounlarkish, adjectivelarkishness, noun

Word Origin for lark

C19: originally slang, perhaps related to laik
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 lark

"songbird," early 14c., earlier lauerche (c.1200), from Old English lawerce (late Old English laferce), from Proto-Germanic *laiw(a)rikon (cf. Old Saxon lewerka, Frisian liurk, Old Norse lævirik, Dutch leeuwerik, German Lerche), of unknown origin. Some Old English and Old Norse forms suggest a compound meaning "treason-worker," but there is no folk tale to explain or support this.


"spree, frolic," 1811, possibly shortening of skylark (1809), sailors' slang "play rough in the rigging of a ship" (larks were proverbial for high-flying), or from English dialectal lake/laik "to play" (c.1300, from Old Norse leika "to play," from PIE *leig- "to leap") with intrusive -r- common in southern British dialect. The verb lake, considered characteristic of Northern English vocabulary, is the opposite of work but lacks the other meanings of play. As a verb, from 1813. Related: Larked; larking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with lark


In addition to the idiom beginning with lark

  • lark it up

also see:

  • happy as the day is long (as a lark)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.