Definition of shirk in English:

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Pronunciation: /SHərk/


[with object]
1Avoid or neglect (a duty or responsibility): their sole motive is to shirk responsibility and rip off the company
More example sentences
  • She suffers, true; she complains, also true; but she has not shirked her duty, nor shied away from pain.
  • Insightful without being pedantic, learned but not overbearing, the book is full of humorous anecdotes while never shirking the factual responsibility of the historian.
  • ‘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.
evade, dodge, avoid, get out of, sidestep, shrink from, shun, skip, miss;
informal duck (out of), cop out of, cut
avoid one's duty, be remiss, be negligent, play truant, swing the lead, slack off
informal goof off, play hooky
1.1 [no object, usually with negative] (shirk from) Be unwilling to do (something difficult): we will not shirk from closing a school if the evidence should justify it


A person who shirks.
Example sentences
  • His status as a shirk would normally render him somewhat of a pariah.
  • The boy was a shirk, anyway, so he wouldn't really be missed.



Pronunciation: /ˈSHərkər/
Example sentences
  • He don't have time for those what don't care to work, and he'd sooner drown you than put up with idlers or shirkers.
  • And if the socialist shirkers riot, shoot them!
  • To stand for the shirkers, stand strong in their place.


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

  • shark from late 16th century:

    We do not know where the name for the fish comes from, but it is thought that the shark as in loan shark may be from German Schurke ‘worthless rogue’, influenced by the zoological term. Shirk (mid 17th century) originally meaning a scrounger, may be from the same German word. The sense ‘avoid work’ dates from the late 18th century.

Words that rhyme with shirk

berk, berserk, Burke, cirque, dirk, Dunkirk, erk, irk, kirk, lurk, mirk, murk, outwork, perk, quirk, smirk, stirk, Turk, work

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: shirk

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