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See more synonyms for lurk on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to lie or wait in concealment, as a person in ambush; remain in or around a place secretly or furtively.
  2. to go furtively; slink; steal.
  3. to exist unperceived or unsuspected.
  4. Chiefly Computers. to read or observe an ongoing discussion without participating in it, as on a message board.
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noun Australian Informal.
  1. an underhand scheme; dodge.
  2. an easy, somewhat lazy or unethical way of earning a living, performing a task, etc.
  3. a hideout.
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Origin of lurk

1250–1300; Middle English lurken, frequentative of lower2; compare Norwegian lurka to sneak away
Related formslurk·er, nounlurk·ing, nounlurk·ing·ly, adverb


See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. Lurk, skulk, sneak, prowl suggest avoiding observation, often because of a sinister purpose. To lurk is to lie in wait for someone or to hide about a place, often without motion, for periods of time. Skulk suggests cowardliness and stealth of movement. Sneak emphasizes the attempt to avoid being seen. It has connotations of slinking and of an abject meanness of manner, whether there exists a sinister intent or the desire to avoid punishment for some misdeed. Prowl implies the definite purpose of seeking for prey; it suggests continuous action in roaming or wandering, slowly and quietly but watchfully, as a cat that is hunting mice.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for lurker

Historical Examples

  • But no matter how he strove to run down the lurker, he lost him every time.

    Brothers of Peril

    Theodore Goodridge Roberts

  • But the lurker refused to be caught and darted away into the shadows.

  • Then he glanced over his shoulder to see if any lurker was watching them.

  • With the mist floating across those openings, it would be easy for a lurker to watch him unseen.

    The Defiant Agents

    Andre Alice Norton

  • Go thou to thy charge among the piles of the fuel, and see that no lurker remaineth to do injury.

    The Wept of Wish-Ton-Wish

    James Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for lurker


verb (intr)
  1. to move stealthily or be concealed, esp for evil purposes
  2. to be present in an unobtrusive way; go unnoticed
  3. to read messages posted on an electronic network without contributing messages oneself
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  1. Australian and NZ slang a scheme or stratagem for success
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Derived Formslurker, noun

Word Origin

C13: probably frequentative of lour; compare Middle Dutch loeren to lie in wait
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 lurker


"one who lurks," early 14c., agent noun from lurk (v.).

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c.1300, lurken "to hide, lie hidden," probably from Scandinavian (cf. dialectal Norwegian lurka "to sneak away," dialectal Swedish lurka "to be slow in one's work"), perhaps ultimately related to Middle English luren "to frown, lurk" (see lower (v.2)). Related: Lurked; lurking.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper