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sky·​lark ˈskī-ˌlärk How to pronounce skylark (audio)
: a common largely brown Old World lark (Alauda arvensis) noted for its song especially as uttered in flight
: any of various birds resembling the skylark


2 of 2


skylarked; skylarking; skylarks

intransitive verb

: to run up and down the rigging of a ship in sport
skylarker noun

Did you know?

As far as we know, people were skylarking at sea before they were larking on land. Skylarking was originally a term used by seamen for their scampering about on the rigging of ships. The first known use of the word in print is from 1809, though the term was probably part of the sailor's vernacular before that. Lark, meaning "to engage in harmless fun or mischief," isn't attested in writing until 1813. Whether or not the meanings of these words came about from the song and/or behavior of birds is uncertain. One theory of the verb lark is that it began as a misinterpretation of the verb lake, which in British dialect means "to play or frolic."

Examples of skylark in a Sentence

Verb couldn't resist the temptation to skylark as commencement ceremonies came to a close he spends his time joking and skylarking, but his brother is serious and industrious
Recent Examples on the Web
Other newspapers’ nicknames for her — the California nightingale, the California skylark — were not just about her immense vocal range, but about the wonder and novelty that California, of all places, could claim such a woman. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024 Soaring above the skylark: the mountain peak! Hiroshi Okamoto, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 July 2020 Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni is home to a variety of wildlife, and surveys conducted in 2017 noted skylarks, ospreys, and peregrine falcons—among other birds—nesting on the base. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 15 May 2019 Numerous interlacing trails lead to the top, across meadows where skylarks breed. Brian J. Cantwell, The Seattle Times, 10 Aug. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'skylark.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1680, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1771, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of skylark was circa 1680


Dictionary Entries Near skylark

Cite this Entry

“Skylark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
sky·​lark ˈskī-ˌlärk How to pronounce skylark (audio)
: a common Old World lark noted for its continuous song uttered mostly while flying


2 of 2 verb
: to play wild pranks : frolic
skylarker noun

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