\ ˈshərk How to pronounce shirk (audio) \
shirked; shirking; shirks

Definition of shirk

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: avoid, evade shirk one's duty

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Other Words from shirk

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Hunt has performed well on the campaign trail, accusing Johnson of shirking scrutiny and lacking substance, while presenting himself as the serious, stable candidate. Washington Post, "Brexit, domestic drama and Trump drive UK leadership race," 12 July 2019 Kagan noted in her dissent that the majority’s conclusion simply shirked a duty to rule in her view. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The US Supreme Court says partisan gerrymandering is not its problem," 27 June 2019 Instead of shirking from that, instead of getting rattled, Ohashi rushes toward the moment. Jason Gay, WSJ, "A Must-See Gymnast, and the Meaning of Joy," 16 Jan. 2019 Attorneys who represent youth in delinquency cases say DCS is shirking its responsibility to care for children who have no place to go if foster care is not an option. Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, "Department of Child Safety doesn't want to house youth who have committed crimes. New law gives time to find alternatives," 27 June 2019 Those with tanning goals for summer might be considering foregoing sunscreen to acquire their base layer, but shirking SPF may not be such a good idea. Susan Brickell,, "What Does SPF Stand For? We Asked Dermatologists," 21 June 2019 Environmentalists attacked the Trump administration proposal, saying the EPA was shirking its responsibility to protect public health and the environment. Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Fortune, "Why Trump's EPA Rollback to End 'War on Coal' Won't Rescue the Industry," 19 June 2019 While some guests may have shirked the dress code, the evening’s entertainment took the theme in earnest. Vogue, "John Waters Was in His Campy Element at Ballroom Marfa's Spring Celebration," 21 May 2019 Instead, these people said, Kelly seemed to shirk blame, grumbling to at least one confidant that the communications office should be held partly responsible. Washington Post, "White House reels as FBI director contradicts official claims about alleged abuser," 13 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shirk.' 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 shirk

1681, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for shirk

origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries near shirk

shire town







Statistics for shirk

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shirk

The first known use of shirk was in 1681

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More Definitions for shirk



English Language Learners Definition of shirk

: to avoid doing something that you are supposed to do


\ ˈshərk How to pronounce shirk (audio) \
shirked; shirking

Kids Definition of shirk

: to avoid doing something especially because of laziness, fear, or dislike Don't shirk your chores.

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More from Merriam-Webster on shirk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shirk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shirk

Spanish Central: Translation of shirk

Nglish: Translation of shirk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shirk for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about shirk

Comments on shirk

What made you want to look up shirk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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