Definitions

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

  • intransitive v. To lie in hiding, as out of cowardice or bad conscience; lurk.
  • intransitive v. To move about stealthily.
  • intransitive v. To evade work or obligation; shirk.
  • n. One who hides, lurks, or practices evasion.
  • n. A congregation of vermin, especially foxes, or of thieves. See Synonyms at flock1.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a group of foxes
  • n. one who skulks; a skulker
  • v. to conceal oneself; to hide
  • v. to sneak around, sneak about
  • v. to shirk; to avoid obligation

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To hide, or get out of the way, in a sneaking manner; to lie close, or to move in a furtive way; to lurk.
  • n. A number of foxes together.
  • n. One who, or that which, skulks.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To withdraw into a corner or into a close or obscure place for concealment; lie close or hidden from shame, fear of injury or detection, or desire to injure another; shrink or sneak away from danger or work; lurk.
  • To produce or bring forward clandestinely or improperly.
  • n. Same as skulker.
  • n. A number of foxes together; hence, a number of other animals or of persons together: as, a skulk of thieves.

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

  • v. lie in wait, lie in ambush, behave in a sneaky and secretive manner
  • v. avoid responsibilities and duties, e.g., by pretending to be ill
  • v. move stealthily

Etymologies

Middle English skulken, of Scandinavian origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English skulken, of Scandinavian origin (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The word skulk has appeared in 11 New York Times articles in the past year, including on Dec. 18 in the Opinion piece "The Grim Good Cheer of the Irish" by John Banville:

    NYT > Home Page

  • Learn more about the word "skulk" and see usage examples across a range of subjects on the Vocabulary.com dictionary.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Mexico's bicentennial tower knew what people were saying, it might slink off and hide if 341 feet of stone could skulk, that is.

    News - latimes.com

  • a number of foxes a "skulk" are mysteries of philology into which I will not enter.

    Amusements in Mathematics

  • OK, there was the time I was driving my crotch rocket without a tag, cause I thought it would be helpful if I was ever being chased, to not have a tag, and they chased me for about 20miles till I cranked her up to 160mph, got some clearance and turned down a back road till it got dark and I could skulk back to my Garage ...

    The Volokh Conspiracy » When a Police Officer Pulls Over a Law Student

  • Now they skulk about Starbucks in skinny jeans and hoodies and Chuck Taylors.

    TWILIGHT SAGA NEWS FOR OCTOBER 22ND | Open Society Book Club Discussions and Reviews

  • In this mad, mad world, decency and respect triumphed -- if only for a day -- silencing the wing nuts, who seem to skulk everywhere.

    Penelope Andrew: HuffPost Review: Oscar-Winner In a Better World, and Remembering Elizabeth Taylor

  • Add this to his slightly animalistic eating habits, and his tendency to wander out of the hospital and skulk in the bushes, and Justin was a puzzle like no other.

    Forever Lost

  • They spent the next three weeks in what Betty called the “never-never land” of secret OSS training schools, a series of safe houses scattered all over the Virginia area where they were taught how to make false documents, skulk around corners while following people, arrange secret meetings, and question suspects.

    A Covert Affair

  • Romulan Security—and probably the Tal Shiar—now know who many of us are, and most are everyday citizens who do not skulk through the Ki Baratan underground to avoid detection.

    Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire

Comments

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  • This is what my cat does in the back yard!

    November 5, 2009

  • With this I left him, and skulked out of the town, not paying my respects tomy other benefactors; but giving them a thousand blessings from my heart.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 1 ch. 13

    September 12, 2008

  • Boulder-footed? I love it! Oh, ha, ha, ha!

    March 20, 2008

  • I don't know how anybody/anycreature could sneak around with a word as clumsy and boulder-footed as this. Besides, it resembles skunk so much that I think you'd smell a skulk from half a mile away.

    March 20, 2008

  • You had entrails in your college dining hall?

    March 20, 2008

  • Whenever I hear this word, I think of some college friends who tickled themselves to death by uttering the following sentence (context not important): "He can't very well skulk out of the dining hall, entrails in tow!"

    March 20, 2008

  • A group of foxes

    November 16, 2007