[ shurk ]
/ ʃɜrk /

verb (used with object)

to evade (work, duty, responsibility, etc.).

verb (used without object)

to evade work, duty, etc.


Nearby words

  1. shiraz,
  2. shire,
  3. shire highlands,
  4. shire horse,
  5. shirer,
  6. shirker,
  7. shirleen,
  8. shirley,
  9. shirley poppy,
  10. shirley temple

Origin of shirk

First recorded in 1625–35; obscurely akin to shark2

Related formsun·shirked, adjectiveun·shirk·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shirk

British Dictionary definitions for shirk


/ (ʃɜːk) /


to avoid discharging (work, a duty, etc); evade

noun Also: shirker

a person who shirks

Word Origin for shirk

C17: probably from German Schurke rogue; see shark ²


  1. the fundamental sin of regarding anything as equal to Allah
  2. any belief that is considered to be in opposition to Allah and Islam

Word Origin for shirk

from Arabic: association

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 shirk



1630s, "to practice fraud or trickery," also a noun (1630s, now obsolete) "a needy, disreputable parasite" [OED], perhaps from German schurke "scoundrel, rogue, knave, villain" (see shark (n.)). Sense of "evade one's work or duty" first recorded 1785, originally in slang. Related: Shirked; shirking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper