\ˈshərk \
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

Synonyms & Antonyms for shirk


forget, neglect


attend (to), remember

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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

The company also faces civil suits in Europe brought by shareholders who accuse it of shirking its duty to them. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "Volkswagen Agrees to $1.2 Billion German Fine in Emissions-Cheating Scheme," 13 June 2018 In the suit, Dranoff accused Camden officials of breach of contract for allegedly shirking an obligation to transfer the tax breaks, endangering his deal to sell the Victor to Aimco. Jacob Adelman,, "Camden says Dranoff sale of Victor Building needs vetting over tax break," 3 July 2018 By falling prey to it and staying silent, council would shirk its responsibility to explain to voters how corrosive the union’s demands truly are to the public’s interests. Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, "Mayor trying to rope in council to oppose amendments," 28 June 2018 So at least for those allies that don’t shirk their responsibilities, Mr. Trump’s America should remain a reliable partner. Tony Abbott, WSJ, "An Ally Sizes Up Donald Trump," 13 July 2018 Much has been made of the alliance's goal that member nations spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, due to U.S. President Donald Trump's regular contention that members are shirking their commitments. David Rising, Fox News, "A look at NATO and what the alliance does, past and present," 13 July 2018 This Italian restaurant doesn’t shirk from the classics. Michael Candelaria,, "Casselberry Neighborhood Guide," 21 June 2018 Featuring artists who have long marinated in this material, Morton’s production walks the line between all of these ideas, entertaining an audience while not shirking from the violence at the core of the writing. Chris Jones,, "'Guards at the Taj,' staring at beauty, pondering atrocities," 12 June 2018 This is a theme for the American president—that Western Europe is shirking its military spending duties. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Is It Fair for Trump to Bash NATO Over Military Spending?," 12 July 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

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 \
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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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).


by force of circumstances

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