\ˈlərk \
lurked; lurking; lurks

Definition of lurk 

intransitive verb

1a : to lie in wait in a place of concealment especially for an evil purpose someone out there lurking in the shadows

b : to move furtively or inconspicuously shall I lurk about this country like a thief?— Henry Fielding

c : to persist in staying the excitement of the first act still lurking in the air— Richard Fletcher Something about the smile lurking on Malfoy's face during the next week made Harry, Ron, and Hermione very nervous.— J. K. Rowling

2a : to be concealed but capable of being discovered specifically : to constitute a latent threat What evil lurks in the hearts of men?

b : to lie hidden Malaria lurked in the marshes.

3 : to read messages without contributing on an Internet discussion forum (see forum sense 1c) (such as a newsgroup or chat room) or social media platform (such as Facebook or Twitter) You can tweet as much as you want or lurk without comment, though consistent tweeting and audience engagement are key to attracting and keeping followers.— Charlotte Abbott

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Other Words from lurk

lurker noun plural lurkers
a lurker in the shadows A new scam has surfaced on the Internet in which con artists using fake names stage phony conversations about a company's stock. Unsuspecting lurkers—people who read others' conversations but don't participate—think they are privy to a hot stock tip. Playboy

Synonyms & Antonyms for lurk


hide, hole up, lie, repose, skulk



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Choose the Right Synonym for lurk

lurk, skulk, slink, sneak mean to behave so as to escape attention. lurk implies a lying in wait in a place of concealment and often suggests an evil intent. suspicious men lurking in alleyways skulk suggests more strongly cowardice or fear or sinister intent. something skulking in the shadows slink implies moving stealthily often merely to escape attention. slunk around the corner sneak may add an implication of entering or leaving a place or evading a difficulty by furtive or underhanded methods. sneaked out early

Examples of lurk in a Sentence

She could tell there was someone out there lurking in the shadows. we caught a glimpse of someone lurking around the corner

Recent Examples on the Web

According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to a business on Sandy Creek Lane, off Colonial Drive in east Orange County, about 2:30 a.m. after a man later identified as Grant Davis Belcher was spotted lurking around a Ford F-350 truck. Jeff Weiner,, "While towing suspected burglar's car, deputies make a back-seat discovery: a baby alligator," 9 July 2018 While violent crime has sharply declined in the past quarter-century, Skenazy said many people still parent as though danger lurks around every corner. Elizabeth Chuck /, NBC News, "How much risk is good for kids? Parents make the case for more adventurous childhoods," 26 June 2018 For a long, long time, those in the bubble had no idea what lurked outside. Mike Finger, San Antonio Express-News, "As Kawhi looks elsewhere, a bubble bursts," 16 June 2018 Everything in my body felt like an imminent disaster: A headache became a brain tumor, the weight in my chest was a heart attack, a tight calf meant a blood clot was lurking and would kill me in my sleep. Caroline Shannon-karasik, The Cut, "Rebuilding a Sex Life Destroyed by Postpartum Depression," 14 June 2018 Astronomers have long had evidence of baby black holes with masses of no more than tens of suns, and of million– or billion–solar-mass behemoths lurking at the centers of galaxies. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Discovery of middleweight black holes could explain origin of million-solar-mass monster," 30 May 2018 Especially with a familiar face for L.A. soccer fans lurking on the opposing side. Ethan Bauer,, "LAFC hopes Laurent Ciman's return will ease the loss of three players at World Cup," 23 June 2018 As for your best defense against germs lurking on airport floors? Meghan Overdeep, ajc, "Why you should always wear socks through airport security," 12 June 2018 Some kind of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and Dragon Quest tie-in content is lurking on the horizon, but again, the company didn't get into specifics. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Square-Enix at E3: Yes, Kingdom Hearts III is finally coming out," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lurk.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lurk

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for lurk

Middle English; akin to Middle High German lūren to lie in wait — more at lower

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Statistics for lurk

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for lurk

The first known use of lurk was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for lurk



English Language Learners Definition of lurk

: to be in a hidden place : to wait in a secret or hidden place especially in order to do something wrong or harmful

computers : to read messages written by other people on the Internet in a newsgroup, chat room, etc., without writing any messages yourself


\ˈlərk \
lurked; lurking

Kids Definition of lurk

: to hide in or about a place

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Comments on lurk

What made you want to look up lurk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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