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

Examples from the Web for larky

Contemporary Examples of larky

  • His book, he hopes, combines science, geopolitics, and larky history.

    The Daily Beast logo
    BP, Putin, and the Power of Oil

    Tim Teeman

    March 9, 2014

  • It was surprising that I even took such a dark role, but also, in the context of the role there are larky moments.

    The Daily Beast logo
    John Lithgow's Killer Role

    Claire Martin

    December 11, 2009

Historical Examples of larky

  • When he came on board at Sandridge, he looked as frisky and larky as a boy.

    A Boy's Voyage Round the World

    The Son of Samuel Smiles

  • Get her to yourself, Ted, and she's as larky as they're made.


    E. W. (Ernest William) Hornung

  • But pooty, and larky no doubt, so I tips her a wink and a smile.

  • His eldest son, Bobby—a boy of about nine or ten—is said to be the most larky boy in the settlement.

  • The larky German student generally keeps count, contenting himself with half a dozen lights per night.

    Three Men on the Bummel

    Jerome K. Jerome

British Dictionary definitions for larky


adjective larkier or larkiest informal

frolicsome or mischievous




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 larky



"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 larky


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.