\ 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 Moreover, disirregardless of what Jamie Lee asserts, irregardless did not skulk into the dictionary just this year. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Star upset ‘irregardless’ has invaded the dictionary," 14 Nov. 2020 Osama bin Laden skulked in caves and a nondescript house in Pakistan. The Economist, "A genocide suspect faces trial Félicien Kabuga, Africa’s most wanted man, is arrested," 21 May 2020 Harder to ignore are the creepy attentions of Lester (Clayton Hoff), who skulks around on the fringes of gatherings and leers at her through glasses with one lens mysteriously blackened. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, "‘1BR’ Review: Losing Much More Than the Security Deposit," 23 Apr. 2020 Someone skulked around Playland, the Cliff House and Sutro Baths. ... Gary Kamiya,, "San Francisco’s ‘Phantom of Playland’ sheltered in place for five-plus years," 17 Apr. 2020 But subsequent monitoring found the pan-resistant strain colonizing the patient, i.e., skulking around the patient's body without causing an infection. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Deadly fungus became resistant to all existing drugs in 3 unlinked US patients," 9 Jan. 2020 All the while, Hank and Aron skulk like shoes just waiting to drop. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "‘Mickey and the Bear’ Review: Trapped in a Small Town, With Dad," 12 Nov. 2019 Presumably in Washington, skulking around the basement of the Capitol. Karen Heller, Washington Post, "The Trump campaign held a Halloween ‘Witch Hunt Party’ and tortured a metaphor to death," 31 Oct. 2019 Moments later, the animal is seen skulking away down the street. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "A five-year-old barely escaped as a coyote chased her in her front yard," 25 Sep. 2019 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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Time Traveler for skulk

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

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Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Skulk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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.

More from Merriam-Webster on skulk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for skulk

Nglish: Translation of skulk for Spanish Speakers

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