[ lurk ]
See synonyms for: lurklurkedlurkinglurks on

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.

  1. to exist unperceived or unsuspected.

  2. Chiefly Computers. to read or observe an ongoing discussion without participating in it, as on a message board.

nounAustralian Informal.
  1. an underhand scheme; dodge.

  2. an easy, somewhat lazy or unethical way of earning a living, performing a task, etc.

  1. a hideout.

Origin of lurk

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English lurken, frequentative of lower2; compare Norwegian lurka “to sneak away”

synonym study For lurk

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.

Other words from lurk

  • lurker, noun
  • lurking, noun
  • lurk·ing·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use lurk in a sentence

  • Christopher Scott Wilson was no shadow-lurker, say some of his friends and classmates.

    Murder at Beauty School | Winston Ross | October 12, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • One of the sawing claws opened and closed, separating the head of the lurker from its body.

    Plague Ship | Andre Norton
  • He had recognized the lurker as a former unreliable employe of the Great Northern, discharged at the time of the great strike.

  • He retired further into the shade, and silently and slowly drew near the lurker, who stirred not from his place.

    The Bravo of Venice | Heinrich Zschokke
  • Sneeze-lurker, a thief who throws snuff in a persons face, and then robs him.

    The Slang Dictionary | John Camden Hotten
  • But no matter how he strove to run down the lurker, he lost him every time.

    Brothers of Peril | Theodore Goodridge Roberts

British Dictionary definitions for lurk


/ (lɜːk) /

  1. to move stealthily or be concealed, esp for evil purposes

  2. to be present in an unobtrusive way; go unnoticed

  1. to read messages posted on an electronic network without contributing messages oneself

  1. Australian and NZ slang a scheme or stratagem for success

Origin of lurk

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

Derived forms of lurk

  • lurker, noun

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