Definition of skulk in English:



[no object]
  • 1Keep out of sight, typically with a sinister or cowardly motive.

    ‘don't skulk outside the door like a spy!’
    • ‘She prepared herself, skulking silently behind several crates, the door opened seconds later.’
    • ‘And since I didn't want anyone to know I was worried about this, I've been sulking and skulking and letting the discontent grow.’
    • ‘They did not have to ask society's permission to express their natural desires, or to skulk ashamedly when they did so outside of marriage.’
    • ‘His first song was played on his knees, pulling the mic down as if he were skulking in the corner of the room, wanting to play, but not make a drama out of it.’
    • ‘I skulk outside the crematorium gates in that suit, which I've borrowed again from my housemate Paul.’
    • ‘There are still some stragglers awaiting relocation, skulking up there on the top shelf trying to avoid detection.’
    • ‘McCabe apparently got all his information by skulking in the bushes outside the Goldstein's place night after night.’
    • ‘Unlike the absconding narrators who skulk out of sight in most modern novels, James refuses to hide behind the mask of authorial anonymity.’
    • ‘After I dropped them off, I took a ride. I saw 2 jackals skulking up the road and an unidentified fox crossed in front of me.’
    • ‘The only answer is to stay away, to skulk at home with the door locked, then complain about democratic illegitimacy later.’
    • ‘At this point, the guard, who had been skulking around listening to our conversation, decided to stick his oar in.’
    • ‘I would skulk in alleys and hide in closets and tap phone lines.’
    • ‘Porter's Hobart skulks beneath a starry crucifix that has tilted sideways.’
    1. 1.1with adverbial of direction Move stealthily or furtively.
      ‘he spent most of his time skulking about the corridors’
      • ‘The problem with shooting over at Bellevue is that there are a lot of borderline psych cases skulking around.’
      • ‘While the others slept peacefully, I was slinking and skulking around in the dark.’
      • ‘I strode out of the room, and slammed the door, before skulking off upstairs again.’
      • ‘Although Paul Walker is the ‘star,’ we can see a couple of half-decent character actors skulking through the works here and there.’
      • ‘I'm too busy taking photos of myself, skulking around NZD, and considering how names like Aethelbald are parental cruelty.’
      • ‘Across the road I noticed some youths skulking around.’
      • ‘She spent some time skulking off behind barns for a smoke: ‘Yeah, and nicking fags off Dad.’’
      • ‘Rather, Robertson, skulking ahead, has now downgraded his earlier call to murder and mayhem to mere kidnapping.’
      • ‘The Bat skulked away and has lived in dark corners and holes ever since, never showing himself except in the near dark of latening twilight.’
      • ‘Matt and Ken wonder why they ever left Czechoslovakia, where all they had to worry about was the odd Vampire skulking about.’
      • ‘It looked to be another clear day, so he'd spend most of it outside, skulking about the forest as usual.’
      • ‘From that came all the images of some upper-class fellow in a top hat and cape skulking through foggy gaslit Whitechapel.’
      • ‘While Barbara stays up in the clocktower tracking crime on the web, Helena skulks through the dark New Gotham nights kicking villainous butt.’
      • ‘I threw my bag down by the door and skulked off into the kitchen.’
      • ‘The only element Kurtzman adds to shape the events is drama, which serves to tease out the absurdity skulking just below the romantic surface.’
      • ‘If skulking losers can kill 90 people, imagine what they can accomplish if this emboldens them and they are no longer skulking.’
      • ‘In recent weeks some shady looking characters have been seen skulking around the Dunamaise Theatre at night.’
      • ‘She didn't go skulking around behind your back.’
      • ‘And, of course, there are all these people wringing their hands and skulking around in the back. [Laughs.]’
      • ‘She hissed, and skulked into her bedroom, closing and locking the door behind her.’
      lurk, loiter, hide, conceal oneself, lie in wait, keep out of sight
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Shirk one's duties or responsibilities.
      ‘we were accused of skulking’
      • ‘We do not skulk away from our responsibility of launching revolutionary violence to meet counter-violence.’


  • A group of foxes.

    ‘the skulk howls away into the night’


Middle English: of Scandinavian origin; compare with Norwegian skulka ‘lurk’, and Danish skulke, Swedish skolka ‘shirk’.