shirked; shirking; shirks

intransitive verb

: to go stealthily : sneak
: to evade the performance of an obligation

transitive verb

: avoid, evade
shirk one's duty
shirker noun

Examples of shirk in a Sentence

He's too conscientious to shirk his duty. He never shirked from doing his duty. They did their duty without shirking or complaining.
Recent Examples on the Web In the meantime, to make sure that the profit-seeking part of the company doesn’t shirk its commitment to ensuring the AI doesn’t get out of control, there’s that board, keeping an eye on things. Steven Levy, WIRED, 22 Nov. 2023 But the changes have done little to pacify its critics at the state and federal level, who contend the company has shirked its responsibility to protect its most vulnerable young users. Naomi Nix, Washington Post, 24 Oct. 2023 In a series of studies with more than 2,000 participants, researchers in Wisconsin and Canada found that both men and women were more likely to suspect women than men of shirking work. Emma Goldberg, New York Times, 18 Oct. 2023 The production entity for Rust must turn over records that could indicate whether Alec Baldwin shirked industry-wide norms on set safety to shoot the movie on a shoestring budget, a judge has ruled on Tuesday. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Oct. 2023 This sense of ease pervaded spring’s best shows and clothes, which shirked recent seasons’ gimmicks, flash and frippery and instead brought women feel-good outfits for everyday. WSJ, 6 Oct. 2023 But even before becoming a CEO who tries to position himself apart from other CEOs, Elon Musk was trying to break from the mold, shirking the usual classics in favor of famous sci-fi lit. Chloe Berger, Fortune, 14 Sep. 2023 The daughter said both Germany and the United States have shirked responsibility for securing his release. Miriam Berger, Washington Post, 25 Aug. 2023 The suns clash with Jupiter offers confidence to chase your dreams but dont shirk your responsibilities in the process! USA TODAY, 6 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shirk.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1681, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of shirk was in 1681

Dictionary Entries Near shirk

Cite this Entry

“Shirk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: to get out of doing especially what one ought to do
: avoid sense 3, evade
shirked their duty
shirker noun

More from Merriam-Webster on shirk

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