from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To burden or be burdened with trouble; worry.
  • n. A worry; a trouble: carks and cares.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To be filled with worry, solicitude, or troubles.
  • v. To bring worry, vexation, or anxiety.
  • n. A noxious or corroding worry.
  • n. The state of being filled with worry.
  • v. Eye dialect spelling of caulk.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A noxious or corroding care; solicitude; worry.
  • intransitive v. To be careful, anxious, solicitous, or troubled in mind; to worry or grieve.
  • transitive v. To vex; to worry; to make by anxious care or worry.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To load; burden; load or oppress with grief, anxiety, or care; worry; perplex; vex.
  • To bring to be by care or anxiety; make by carking.
  • To be full of care, anxious, solicitous, or concerned.
  • n. A load; a burden; a weight; specifically, an old measure of weight for wool, equal to the thirtieth part of a sarplar.
  • n. A burden of care; a state of anxious solicitude; care; concern; trouble; distress.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed


Middle English carken, from Norman French carquier, to burden, load, from Late Latin carricāre; see cargo.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English carken ("to be anxious"), from Old English carcian, becarcian ("to be anxious, be anxious about, care for, take charge of, look after"), from car- ("care") + formative -cian (suffix). (Wiktionary)
From caulk (Wiktionary)



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  • There's a joy without canker or cark,
    There's a pleasure eternally new,
    'Tis to gloat on the glaze and the mark
    Of china that's ancient and blue.

    -Andrew Lang, Ballade of Blue China

    August 26, 2014

  • The two words are unlikely to be related. 'Cark' "die" is only very recently attested; it could be short for 'carcass'.

    August 12, 2008

  • For nowadays, the whale-fishery furnishes an asylum for many romantic, melancholy, and absent-minded young men, disgusted with the carking care of earth, and seeking sentiment in tar and blubber.

    - Melville, Moby-Dick, ch. 35

    July 25, 2008

  • ...just as the body is liable to awful diseases and harsh pain, so we see the mind liable to carking care and grief and fear...

    - Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, 3. 459-461, tr. Rouse

    June 25, 2008

  • - Gareth died at a rave, did he?
    - Yeh, the soft twat, in-a back of a van. Comes out of jail that very fuckin day an to celebrate OD's on meth. Carked it. The prick.

    - Niall Griffiths, Sheepshagger

    January 16, 2008

  • I wonder how it went from meaning "worry" to meaning "drop dead"? (The "worry" definition being archaic.)

    October 4, 2007

  • This sounds vaguely Irish to me - like they're saying cork with an Irish accent.

    October 4, 2007

  • "To cark it" = to expire, drop dead.

    - "How's your uncle Bernie these days?"
    - "Who? Oh, him: he carked it yonks ago."

    October 4, 2007

  • Maybe Carl carked a lot?

    October 3, 2007

  • Ha, there was a guy who went by the name Cark on a (now defunct) web site I used to frequent. I always assumed it was just a funny-sounding typo for what I figured was his real name, Carl.

    October 3, 2007

  • To worry or to be burdened with worries.

    I've been doing some serious carking lately, boyoboy.

    October 3, 2007