\ 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

The study will aim to confirm what species live there - including possibly any unknown animals that might be lurking in the 754ft depths. Fox News, "Loch Ness Monster: This is Scotland's plan if the fabled beast is caught," 10 July 2018 Firefighters in Buckeye, Arizona, are warning all pool owners of something dangerous that could be lurking in their pool toys. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Rattlesnakes could be lurking in your pool noodles, Arizona officials warn," 25 June 2018 So Heimlich in essence has both admitted and denied it, part of the cloud that lurks over the whole scene. Vahe Gregorian, kansascity, "The Royals are considering trying to sign Luke Heimlich. Here's why they shouldn't," 25 June 2018 Joking about the Zetas, the ruthless criminal organization that lurks just across the Rio Grande, is always a bad idea in Eagle Pass. John Maccormack, San Antonio Express-News, "‘Zeta’ remark brings swift consequences to runoff candidate," 22 May 2018 In Senegal, the chef treats herself to the xoon, the dark matrix of broken rice that lurks beneath her thiebu djeun, the national dish of fish and rice. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Korean mom-and-pop Moccozy serves bibimbap and more in their highest form," 10 May 2018 The anxieties that lurk beneath the tremendous ambition of Tesla Inc. moved into the forefront in recent weeks. Dana Hull,, "Tesla Doesn’t Burn Fuel, It Burns Cash," 30 Apr. 2018 Additionally, there are indications that carbon is lurking in this water ice. Loren Grush, The Verge, "NASA scraps a lunar surface mission — just as it’s supposed to focus on a Moon return," 27 Apr. 2018 The pending retirement of Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor has awakened a nagging sense of guilt that lurks within me. Larry Stone, The Seattle Times, "Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor’s departure elicits feelings of admiration, guilt," 3 July 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

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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

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characteristic trappings or dress

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