• synonyms


  1. Chiefly British. a person who gains a livelihood by searching for iron, coal, old ropes, etc., in mud or low tide.
  2. Chiefly British Informal. a street urchin.
  3. either of two black and white birds, Grallina cyanoleuca, of Australia, or G. bruijni, of New Guinea, that builds a large, mud nest.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to grub or play in mud.
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Origin of mudlark

First recorded in 1790–1800; mud + lark1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for mudlark

Historical Examples of mudlark

  • This was Captain Abersouth, formerly of the Mudlark—as good a seaman as ever sat on the taffrail reading a three volume novel.

    The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Volume 8

    Ambrose Bierce

  • So I shipped as mate on the Mudlark, bound from London to wherever the captain might think it expedient to sail.

  • On the voyage of which I write he had taken no cargo at all; he said it would only make the Mudlark heavy and slow.

  • You wade along in this way step by step, like a mudlark at Portsmouth Hard, hoping gradually to regain the surface.


    Sir Ernest Shackleton

  • As a lad I slept with the rats, held horses, swept crossings and lived like a mudlark!

    The Strollers

    Frederic S. Isham

British Dictionary definitions for mudlark


  1. slang, rare a street urchin
  2. (formerly) one who made a living by picking up odds and ends in the mud of tidal rivers
  3. Australian slang a racehorse that runs well on a wet or muddy course
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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