Definition of shirk in English:



  • 1 Avoid or neglect (a duty or responsibility)

    ‘their sole motive is to shirk responsibility and rip off the company’
    • ‘But he's going to do it shamefully and in full recognisance that he's basically shirking his intellectual responsibilities to the world.’
    • ‘Who takes action, and with what promptness, against teachers seen to be even brazenly shirking their duties?’
    • ‘‘The government has steered clear of the problem and shirked its duty,’ he said.’
    • ‘The root cause is specialization amongst the lower ranks in the Force, which is a cover for shirking responsibility.’
    • ‘Renouncing these prodigal sons and attempting to lay them at the door of the west is shirking responsibility.’
    • ‘Vote, it says, or you have shirked your religious duty.’
    • ‘The lighting of the stove and the provision of the tea were done on a rota basis with nobody shirking their duty including the washing up.’
    • ‘We will do so without shirking our responsibility to the people of this district.’
    • ‘She suffers, true; she complains, also true; but she has not shirked her duty, nor shied away from pain.’
    • ‘I can never be accused of shirking my responsibilities.’
    • ‘Here Moses claims God is shirking responsibility for his people.’
    • ‘If not, they are shirking their duty - both to the national defense and to the very goal of diversity that they profess to cherish.’
    • ‘No decent Aussie wants to support queue jumping or shirking responsibility.’
    • ‘‘It is a matter of law and not of fact,’ she said, adding that in her opinion, to decline to hear the matter would be shirking her responsibility as a judge.’
    • ‘Soon they were slacking off in school, shirking responsibilities, and turning to harder drugs for a better high.’
    • ‘Your columnists would be shirking their responsibility if they ignored these factors.’
    • ‘And they have suggested strongly that America is shirking its moral responsibility when it refuses to venture abroad in search of monsters to destroy.’
    • ‘Insightful without being pedantic, learned but not overbearing, the book is full of humorous anecdotes while never shirking the factual responsibility of the historian.’
    • ‘All through those weeks of killings the state and Central government kept on shirking their responsibilities.’
    • ‘By ignoring their epistemic and metaphysical brokenness, we are shirking our Christian duty to truly show love for our neighbor.’
    evade, dodge, avoid, get out of, sidestep, shuffle off, run away from, shrink from, shun, slide out of, play truant from, skip, miss, not attend
    evade one's duty, be remiss, be negligent, skulk, play truant, malinger
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[usually with negative] [no object]Be unwilling to do (something difficult)
      ‘we will not shirk from closing a school if the evidence should justify it’


  • A person who shirks.

    • ‘The boy was a shirk, anyway, so he wouldn't really be missed.’
    • ‘His status as a shirk would normally render him somewhat of a pariah.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense practice fraud or trickery): from obsolete shirk sponger perhaps from German Schurke scoundrel.