\ ˈlərk How to pronounce lurk (audio) \
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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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 At the same time, odors or aromas often lurk along the borders of our conscious awareness, and are notoriously hard to describe in words, and thus to translate between cultures. Mike Jay, WSJ, "‘Smells’ and ‘Smellosophy’ Review: What the Nose Knows," 10 July 2020 Every $20 tasting — which includes about six wines, though others occasionally lurk under the bar — begins with Chardonnay, continues with a few Pinot Noirs and finishes with Syrah. Matt Kettmann,, "Whitcraft Winery injects magic into urban winemaking," 23 June 2020 Like last time, Part 2 devotes hours to world-building sequences that players run through with less action and more tension—wondering whether danger (either in zombie or human forms) may lurk around any corner. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "The Last of Us Part 2 review: A less confident, less focused sequel," 12 June 2020 Their danger lurks wherever humans encroach on wild animals, whether through logging, the building of settlements or the hunting and selling of meat. The Economist, "Curbing zoonotic diseases Will wet markets be hung out to dry after the pandemic?," 26 May 2020 Presley Ann/Getty Images for Coachella A quandary is lurking at the heart of the efforts to revive the economy. David Gelles, New York Times, "Coronavirus Shut Down the ‘Experience Economy.’ Can It Come Back?," 20 May 2020 As a doctor, I am reminded every day of the fragility of the human body, how closely mortality lurks just around the corner. TheWeek, "Sooner or later we all face death. Will a sense of meaning help us?," 17 May 2020 This kind of zero-sum thinking often lurks within the environmentalist movement, and elsewhere on the Left. David Harsanyi, National Review, "Joe Biden’s Dr. Death," 28 Apr. 2020 But another risk lurked in the throng of people: the novel coronavirus, which had already started ramping up in the region. National Geographic, "Social distancing during disasters," 17 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for lurk

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for lurk

Last Updated

13 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lurk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for lurk


How to pronounce lurk (audio)

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 How to pronounce lurk (audio) \
lurked; lurking

Kids Definition of lurk

: to hide in or about a place

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More from Merriam-Webster on lurk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lurk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lurk

Spanish Central: Translation of lurk

Nglish: Translation of lurk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lurk for Arabic Speakers

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