See more synonyms for lurk 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.
  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.
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.

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

Synonyms for lurk

See more synonyms for on
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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for lurking

hidden, sneaking, hiding

Examples from the Web for lurking

Contemporary Examples of lurking

Historical Examples of lurking

  • And in the low bushes could be discerned the lurking, furtive, shadowy jackals.

    The Leopard Woman

    Stewart Edward White

  • And that lurking vanity of the inferior to lessen his own inferiority did the rest.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • The unknown, lurking in the midst of the sticks and moss, was savagely clutching him by the nose.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • It was the trap, ever the trap, the fear of it lurking deep in the life of him, woven into the fibre of him.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • The mob state of mind is lurking still in the excitable American temperament.

British Dictionary definitions for lurking


  1. lingering and persistent, though unsuspected or unacknowledgeda lurking suspicion
  2. dimly perceiveda lurking shape half concealed in the shadows


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
  1. Australian and NZ slang a scheme or stratagem for success
Derived Formslurker, noun

Word Origin for lurk

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 lurking



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper