• synonyms


or sculk

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verb (used without object)
  1. to lie or keep in hiding, as for some evil reason: The thief skulked in the shadows.
  2. to move in a stealthy manner; slink: The panther skulked through the bush.
  3. British. to shirk duty; malinger.
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  1. a person who skulks.
  2. a pack or group of foxes.
  3. Rare. an act or instance of skulking.
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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

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1. See lurk.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for skulking

slink, crouch, prowl, snoop, dodge, pussyfoot, hide, slack, avoid, sidestep, sneak, evade, elude, snake, bypass, steal, creep

Examples from the Web for skulking

Contemporary Examples of skulking

Historical Examples of skulking

  • Their notion of war was midnight skulking and shooting from behind safe cover.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Certainly not; for that sort of thing is an excuse for skulking, and has been the ruin of many an army.

  • The savages, flushed with success, were skulking every where.

    King Philip

    John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott

  • He thought he was in Castletown, skulking under the walls of the castle.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • The man that is tame in times of peace is a skulking woman in times of war.


    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for skulking


verb (intr)
  1. to move stealthily so as to avoid notice
  2. to lie in hiding; lurk
  3. to shirk duty or evade responsibilities; malinger
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  1. a person who skulks
  2. obsolete a pack of foxes or other animals that creep about stealthily
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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 skulking



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper