verb \ ˈlərk \
|Updated on: 6 Jul 2018

Definition of lurk

lurked; lurking; lurks
1 a : 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
2 a : 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 on an Internet discussion forum (see forum 1c) (such as a newsgroup or chat room) without contributing



Examples of lurk in a Sentence

  1. She could tell there was someone out there lurking in the shadows.

  2. we caught a glimpse of someone lurking around the corner

Recent Examples of lurk from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of lurk

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

lurk Synonyms


hide, hole up, lie, repose, skulk;



Near Antonyms

come out, materialize, show up, turn up;

Related Words

slink, sneak;

avoid, elude, evade;


lie low, sit tight;

Synonym Discussion of 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

LURK Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of lurk for English Language Learners

  • : 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

LURK Defined for Kids


verb \ ˈlərk \

Definition of lurk for Students

lurked; lurking
: to hide in or about a place

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to grant as a privilege or special favor

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