verb (used without object)
to lie or wait in concealment, as a person in ambush; remain in or around a place secretly or furtively.
to go furtively; slink; steal.
to exist unperceived or unsuspected.
Chiefly Computers. to read or observe an ongoing discussion without participating in it, as in an Internet newsgroup.
noun Australian Informal.
an underhand scheme; dodge.
an easy, somewhat lazy or unethical way of earning a living, performing a task, etc.
a hideout.

1250–1300; Middle English lurken, frequentative of lower2; compare Norwegian lurka to sneak away

lurker, noun
lurkingly, adverb
unlurking, adjective

1. Lurk, skulk, sneak, prowl suggest avoiding observation, often because of a sinister purpose. To lurk is to lie in wait for someone or to hide about a place, often without motion, for periods of time. Skulk suggests cowardliness and stealth of movement. Sneak emphasizes the attempt to avoid being seen. It has connotations of slinking and of an abject meanness of manner, whether there exists a sinister intent or the desire to avoid punishment for some misdeed. Prowl implies the definite purpose of seeking for prey; it suggests continuous action in roaming or wandering, slowly and quietly but watchfully, as a cat that is hunting mice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
lurk (lɜːk)
1.  to move stealthily or be concealed, esp for evil purposes
2.  to be present in an unobtrusive way; go unnoticed
3.  to read messages posted on an electronic network without contributing messages oneself
4.  slang (Austral), (NZ) a scheme or stratagem for success
[C13: probably frequentative of lour; compare Middle Dutch loeren to lie in wait]

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

c.1300, lurken "to hide, lie hidden," probably from Scand. (cf. dial. Norw. lurka "to sneak away," dial. Swed. lurka "to be slow in one's work"), perhaps ult. related to M.E. luren "to frown, lurk" (see lower (v.2)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

lurk definition


The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Example sentences
Sharp teeth and sticky tongues lurk everywhere in the wild.
Underneath this interface lurk two vision systems that work in parallel.
Groups of sullen-looking bachelor monkeys lurk outside the herds.
Some spectacular salad combinations lurk in this lineup.
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