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

Example Sentences

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 The glossy, coffee-table-sized work is a visual feast but doesn’t shirk the exhibition’s intellectual side. Eric Twardzik, Robb Report, 19 Dec. 2022 This could be due to lassitude or desire to shirk responsibility for tough questions. Mark Medish, The New Republic, 30 Nov. 2022 While running attack ads and speaking to friendly media outlets, candidates and their consultants are deciding to minimize debate appearances or shirk them altogether. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 14 Oct. 2022 Now, as a member of the neighborhood group Takoma Stormwater Solutions, Kelly is persuading neighbors to plant rain gardens and koi ponds — even as authorities, in his view, shirk their responsibility to stop the waters. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, 23 Oct. 2022 To look away from the diamond Tuesday night was to shirk the ridiculous, overlook the ludicrous and ignore the constant cracks of the bat that prefaced the cheers or groans around Fenway Park. Andy Kostka, Baltimore Sun, 28 Sep. 2022 Both houses shirk modern style in favor of extravagant, over-the-top Old Hollywood style. Jack Flemming, Los Angeles Times, 30 July 2022 The defendants have all tried to shirk liability from the event. Ethan Millman, Rolling Stone, 10 May 2022 From the start of the ceremony, the speakers didn’t shirk references to what students faced during their time at U-M. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, 7 May 2022 See More

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.

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 29 Jan. 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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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