[ shurk ]
See synonyms for: shirkshirking on

verb (used with object)
  1. to evade (work, duty, responsibility, etc.).

verb (used without object)
  1. to evade work, duty, etc.


Origin of shirk

First recorded in 1625–35; obscurely akin to shark2

Other words for shirk

Other words from shirk

  • un·shirked, adjective
  • un·shirk·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use shirk in a sentence

  • Redbird thought, the Sauk were known far and wide as a people who never shirked the demands of honor.

    Shaman | Robert Shea
  • In my fear and trembling I shirked everything, doing childishly and more than childishly.

    The Yeoman Adventurer | George W. Gough
  • Stolen parties in the attics; suppers brought in clandestinely; lessons shirked!

    A Very Naughty Girl | L. T. Meade
  • By that I mean, a world in which difficulties are to be fairly met—not shirked, set aside, or “got round.”

    The Education of American Girls | Anna Callender Brackett

British Dictionary definitions for shirk (1 of 2)


/ (ʃɜːk) /

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

nounAlso: shirker
  1. a person who shirks

Origin of shirk

C17: probably from German Schurke rogue; see shark ²

British Dictionary definitions for shirk (2 of 2)


/ (ʃɪːk) /

  1. Islam

    • the fundamental sin of regarding anything as equal to Allah

    • any belief that is considered to be in opposition to Allah and Islam

Origin of 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