\ ˈskəlk How to pronounce skulk (audio) \
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

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

Verb A man was skulking around outside. She skulked into her sister's room. Noun 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 The fake followers would fit in anywhere: padding out an obscure microinfluencer's ranks, creating the illusion of customers for would-be T-shirt seller, skulking among legions of real fans on celebrity accounts like Ellen DeGeneres'. Wired, "Fighting Instagram's $1.3 Billion Problem—Fake Followers," 10 Sep. 2019 Jolie skulking in her childhood home is very Peyton Sawyer. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "26 Times the One Tree Hill Lifetime Christmas Movie Will Remind You of, Well, One Tree Hill," 23 Nov. 2018 But the Virginia-class submarine's claim to fame is its ability to hunt and destroy enemy vessels, both on the surface and skulking beneath the waves. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "What 'Hunter Killer' Gets Right About Submarine Warfare," 7 Nov. 2018 Breaks into Beck's house to skulk around and learn more about her. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Penn Badgley Is Way Creepier Than Dan Humphrey On His New Show You," 9 Sep. 2018 The Dreamers' 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, "14 Films Where the Sex Was So Intense, It Earned a NC-17 Rating," 3 Aug. 2018 An enterprising photographer may be skulking nearby; a tweet-happy bystander can instantaneously ruin someone's life. Marcia Desanctis, Town & Country, "Mark Sanford, Act II," 14 Feb. 2013 Also, Dilton is skulking around the edge of the party but just as Jughead notices him, Fangs rushes up with news: the Ghoulies have Hot Dog! Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Riverdale" Recap Season 3 Episode 1: Does Archie Go to Jail?," 11 Oct. 2018 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 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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Statistics for skulk

Last Updated

25 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for skulk

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

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More Definitions for skulk


How to pronounce skulk (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of skulk

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


\ ˈskəlk How to pronounce skulk (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on skulk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skulk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with skulk

Spanish Central: Translation of skulk

Nglish: Translation of skulk for Spanish Speakers

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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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