or sculk


verb (used without object)

to lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason: The thief skulked in the shadows.
to move in a stealthy manner; slink: The panther skulked through the bush.
British. to shirk duty; malinger.


a person who skulks.
a pack or group of foxes.
Rare. an act or instance of skulking.

Origin of skulk

1175–1225; Middle English < Scandinavian (not in ON); compare Danish, Norwegian skulke, Swedish skolka play hooky
Related formsskulk·er, nounskulk·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for skulk

1. See lurk. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for skulk

Contemporary Examples of skulk

  • This is not a time to manipulate or skulk into situations sideways, attempting to give a false impression of nonchalance.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Your Week: What the Stars Hold

    Starsky + Cox

    September 4, 2011

Historical Examples of skulk

  • He does not shuffle or prevaricate, dodge or skulk; but is honest, upright, and straightforward.


    Samuel Smiles

  • He didn't mean to skulk like a whipped cur about his own decks.

    The Rescue

    Joseph Conrad

  • Instead, he must skulk in the thicket like a coyote until the man passed.

    Prairie Flowers

    James B. Hendryx

  • Sit there and skulk, while the others do the work, would you?

    Cutlass and Cudgel

    George Manville Fenn

  • I suppose you thought that, being off duty, you could skulk in your cabin and do nothing.

    Under the Chilian Flag

    Harry Collingwood

British Dictionary definitions for skulk


verb (intr)

to move stealthily so as to avoid notice
to lie in hiding; lurk
to shirk duty or evade responsibilities; malinger


a person who skulks
obsolete a pack of foxes or other animals that creep about stealthily
Derived Formsskulker, noun

Word Origin for skulk

C13: of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian skulka to lurk, Swedish skolka, Danish skulke to shirk
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 skulk

c.1200, from a Scandinavian source, cf. Norwegian skulke "to shirk, malinger," Danish skulke "to spare oneself, shirk," Swedish skolka "to shirk, skulk, slink, play truant." Common in Middle English but lacking in 15c.-16c. records; possibly reborrowed 17c. Related: Skulked; skulking; skulker; skulkery.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper