\ 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 Acknowledging the pain that can lurk inside this time of year, the show wants to create some winking, slightly naughty, even splendid new memories. New York Times, "Holiday Cheer, Spiked or Straight," 15 Dec. 2020 Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. New York Times, "These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?," 18 Nov. 2020 Not to mention, germs can lurk in the cervices around credit card numbers, says Forte. Brigitt Earley, Good Housekeeping, "7 Unexpected Places Germs Congregate," 10 Nov. 2020 Americophiles still lurk in the EU, particularly in eastern Europe, where America has remained hugely popular under Mr Trump. The Economist, "Charlemagne What Blackadder’s Baldrick says about Europe," 7 Nov. 2020 No such giants lurk around the corner this Halloween. Mike Rodak |, al, "Halloween shutout ‘wakes up the monster’ of Alabama defense," 1 Nov. 2020 Bol at one point, reminding him of her knowledge of the spiritual realm and forcing him to confront the fact that their most dangerous demons lurk within. Justin Chang Film Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Review: The repressed return with a vengeance in the well-acted refugee thriller ‘His House’," 29 Oct. 2020 The demons and ghouls who usually stalk narrow corridors of a spooky mansion will lurk at outdoor drive-through experiences, delivering gotcha scares at windshields and in rearview mirrors. Erik Piepenburg, New York Times, "6 Ways to Celebrate Halloween From Behind the Wheel," 3 Oct. 2020 However, behind the opening curtains lurk the shadows of Palantir’s human rights failings: a company whose technology has facilitated harmful U.S. government policies against migrants and asylum seekers. Michael Kleinman, Fortune, "As Palantir goes public, consider its troubling human rights record," 30 Sep. 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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lurk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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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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