\ 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 Over years, Congress made the choice to shirk its duty and cede power to the executive branch. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "Sen. Ben Sasse suggests repealing 17th Amendment and other changes to the Senate," 9 Sep. 2020 Over years, Congress made the choice to shirk its duty and cede power to the executive branch. Ben Sasse, WSJ, "Make the Senate Great Again," 8 Sep. 2020 Fire officials caution against complacency: Fire officials on Tuesday cautioned crews battling the three major blazes in the Bay Area to remain vigilant and shirk complacency — even with full containment of the regional fires in sight. Chronicle Staff,, "California Wildfires: Live Updates Aug. 31-Sept. 1," 3 Sep. 2020 Indeed, it can also be invoked as a way to shirk accountability for their own complicity, too. Your Fat Friend, SELF, "Please Don’t Bring Up ‘Skinny Shaming’ When We Talk About Fat Shaming," 1 Sep. 2020 Moments before, during the introductions, the thing to do had been to shirk his eye contact and look at the things in the room that weren’t him. Susan Choi, The New Yorker, "Flashlight," 31 Aug. 2020 And the Moon slips away, unseen, three millimeters monthly and so on etcetera till its visage will shirk this scene. Christopher Cokinos, Scientific American, "Poem: We Need the Sky," 1 Mar. 2020 But health and safety concerns will be more paramount than ever, and the pandemic has finally made it so that employers and HR departments can no longer shirk responsibility for health care concerns that arise to employees while traveling for work. Rachel King, Fortune, "Who will business travelers hold accountable for their safety after the pandemic?," 29 July 2020 But researchers have long known that these bizarre, burrowing rodents—which can live for decades, remarkably free of illness—guard some fascinating evolutionary secrets that help them shirk disease. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Naked Mole-Rats Bathe Their Bodies in Carbon Dioxide to Prevent Seizures," 4 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for shirk

Time Traveler

The first known use of shirk was in 1681

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Statistics for shirk

Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shirk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for shirk


How to pronounce shirk (audio)

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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