1 [lahrk]
any of numerous, chiefly Old World oscine birds, of the family Alaudidae, characterized by an unusually long, straight hind claw, especially the skylark, Alauda arvensis.
any of various similar birds of other families, as the meadowlark and titlark.

before 900; Middle English larke, Old English lāwerce; cognate with German Lerche, Dutch leeuwerik, Old Norse lǣvirki Unabridged


2 [lahrk]
a merry, carefree adventure; frolic; escapade.
innocent or good-natured mischief; a prank.
something extremely easy to accomplish, succeed in, or to obtain: That exam was a lark.
verb (used without object)
to have fun; frolic; romp.
to behave mischievously; play pranks.
Fox Hunting. (of a rider) to take jumps unnecessarily: He tired his horse by larking on the way home.

1805–15; origin uncertain

larker, noun
larkiness, larkishness, noun
larkingly, adverb
larkish, larky, adjective
larkishly, adverb
larksome, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lark1 (lɑːk)
1.  any brown songbird of the predominantly Old World family Alaudidae, esp the skylark: noted for their singing
2.  titlark short for meadowlark
3.  (often capital) any of various slender but powerful fancy pigeons, such as the Coburg Lark
4.  up with the lark up early in the morning
[Old English lāwerce, lǣwerce, of Germanic origin; related to German Lerche, Icelandic lǣvirki]

lark2 (lɑːk)
1.  a carefree adventure or frolic
2.  a harmless piece of mischief
3.  what a lark! how amusing!
4.  (often foll by about) to have a good time by frolicking
5.  to play a prank
[C19: originally slang, perhaps related to laik]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"songbird," O.E. lawerce (late O.E. laferce), from P.Gmc. *laiw(a)rikon (cf. O.S. lewerka, O.N. lævirik, Du. leeuwerik, Ger. Lerche), of unknown origin. Some O.E. and O.N. forms suggest a compound meaning "treason-worker," but there is no folk tale to explain or support this. The plant larkspur
(1578) is so called from resemblance to the bird's large hind claws.

"spree, frolic," 1811, possibly shortening of skylark (1809), sailors' slang "play rough in the rigging of a ship" (larks were proverbial for high-flying), or from Eng. dial. lake/laik "to play" (c.1300, from O.N. leika "to play") with intrusive -r- common in southern British dialect. The verb lake,
considered characteristic of Northern English vocabulary, is the opposite of work but lacks the other meanings of play.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with lark, also see happy as the day is long (as a lark).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Nuclear weapons control has been a lark in comparison.
So people went to bed soon after dark and rose with the lark.
Soon the whole lot of them are heading south on a lark.
By his standards, the first three months of walking were a lark.
Image for lark
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