1 : to run up and down the rigging of a ship in sport
2 : frolic, sport
"Tina could only sit with Sarah and Lynn and watch wistfully from a distance as the boys talked, joked and skylarked." - From Christopher Cummings' 2012 novel Cockatoo
"There, again, just a short ways down the trail, is the dark-haired woman, camera to eye photographing the blonde boy skylarking with a stick." - From a blog post by Richard Bangs at The Huffington Post, August 8, 2013
Did You Know?
As far as we know, people were skylarking at sea before they were larking on land. "Skylarking" was originally a term used by seamen for their scampering about on the rigging of ships. The first known use of the word in print is from 1809, though the term was probably part of the sailor's vernacular before that. "Lark," meaning "to engage in harmless fun or mischief," isn't attested in writing until 1813. Whether or not the meanings of these words came about from the song and/or behavior of birds is uncertain. One theory of the verb "lark" is that it began as a misinterpretation of the verb "lake," which in British dialect means "to play or frolic."
Test Your Vocabulary
What word rhymes with "doltish" and can mean "frisky" or "playful"? The answer is …