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verb (used with object)
  1. to evade (work, duty, responsibility, etc.).
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verb (used without object)
  1. to evade work, duty, etc.
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  1. a shirker.
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Origin of shirk

First recorded in 1625–35; obscurely akin to shark2
Related formsun·shirked, adjectiveun·shirk·ing, adjective


See more synonyms for shirk on Thesaurus.com
1. shun, avoid, dodge.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for shirking


  1. to avoid discharging (work, a duty, etc); evade
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noun Also: shirker
  1. a person who shirks
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Word Origin

C17: probably from German Schurke rogue; see shark ²


  1. Islam
    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
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Word Origin

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 shirking



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper