\ˈskəlk \
skulked; skulking; skulks

Definition of skulk 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to move in a stealthy or furtive manner skulked into her sister's room

2a : to hide or conceal something (such as oneself) often out of cowardice or fear or with sinister intent

b chiefly British : malinger



Definition of skulk (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that skulks

2 : a group of foxes

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Other Words from skulk


skulker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for skulk

Synonyms: Verb

hide, hole up, lie, lurk, repose

Synonyms: Noun

lurker, skulker, sneak, sneaker

Antonyms: Verb


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Choose the Right Synonym for skulk


lurk, skulk, slink, sneak mean to behave so as to escape attention. lurk implies a lying in wait in a place of concealment and often suggests an evil intent. suspicious men lurking in alleyways skulk suggests more strongly cowardice or fear or sinister intent. something skulking in the shadows slink implies moving stealthily often merely to escape attention. slunk around the corner sneak may add an implication of entering or leaving a place or evading a difficulty by furtive or underhanded methods. sneaked out early

Did You Know?


Here's one for the word-puzzle lovers. Can you name three things that the word skulk has in common with all of these other words: booth, brink, cog, flit, give, kid, meek, scab, seem, skull and wing? If you noticed that all of the terms on that list have just one syllable, then you've got the first (easy) similarity, but the next two are likely to prove a little harder to guess. Do you give up? All of the words listed above are of Scandinavian origin and all were first recorded in English in the 13th century. As for "skulk," its closest known Scandinavian relative is the Norwegian dialect word skulka, which means "to lie in wait" or "lurk."

Examples of skulk in a Sentence


A man was skulking around outside. She skulked into her sister's room.


around campus he was seen as a solitary skulk who seemed to be a little too interested in news reports of school shootings
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Do any of these jokers have an inkling of how posterity will view this week’s videos of them skulking away from reporters in the Capitol’s corridors or making mealy-mouth statements while staring down at the floor? Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Jerusalem Horror Show," 16 May 2018 That day, all around the officers, camouflaged militiamen armed with semiautomatic weapons skulked through the crowd of men, women, and kids who’d gathered. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter One: A War in the Desert," 15 May 2018 The Padres were on their way to an afternoon of skulking back to the dugout, bat in hand, striking out 16 times in a 5-2 loss to the Rockies on Wednesday afternoon at Coors Field. Kevin Acee,, "Padres continue on record-breaking strikeout pace in loss to Rockies," 25 Apr. 2018 Smilodon, a saber-toothed cat around the size of today’s African lion, skulked across the grasslands in search of ground sloths and mammoths. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "In 200 Years Cows May Be the Biggest Land Mammals on the Planet," 20 Apr. 2018 Call it a mixture of bravado and irrational confidence, but a great shooter is not skulking off the floor. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Notre Dame’s Shots Heard ‘Round the World," 2 Apr. 2018 Trade adviser Peter Navarro, once barred from sending private emails and spotted skulking in West Wing hallways, has abruptly emerged from the chaos ascendant. Washington Post, "Trump shuffle: Suddenly trade guru Navarro takes spotlight," 7 Mar. 2018 Remember when The Dreamers came out, and skulking off to see it in theaters with your friends was the thing to do? Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "12 Films Where the Sex Was So Intense It Earned a NC-17 Rating," 2 Jan. 2018 For a time, Bitcoin was known as the currency of drug dealers and other bad actors skulking on the internet. Nathaniel Popper And Tiffany Hsu, New York Times, "Bitcoin Plummets More Than 30 Percent in Less Than a Day," 22 Dec. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The household staple skulks in sinks amid dirty dishes and soggy food scraps, sopping up and amplifying microbial forces capable of invading clean food spaces. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Kitchen sponges are festering germ dens—and sanitizing them doesn’t help," 31 July 2017

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for skulk


Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian dialect skulka to lie in wait, lurk

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Dictionary Entries near skulk






skull and crossbones


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Time Traveler for skulk

The first known use of skulk was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for skulk



English Language Learners Definition of skulk

: to move or hide in a secret way especially because you are planning to do something bad


\ˈskəlk \
skulked; skulking

Kids Definition of skulk

: to hide or move in a sly or sneaking way The thief skulked behind a fence.

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Comments on skulk

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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