"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[shurk] /ʃɜrk/
verb (used with object)
to evade (work, duty, responsibility, etc.).
verb (used without object)
to evade work, duty, etc.
a shirker.
Origin of shirk
1625-35; obscurely akin to shark2
Related forms
unshirked, adjective
unshirking, adjective
1. shun, avoid, dodge. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for shirk
  • But do not shirk the responsibility of fitting your paper within the time limits.
  • They have no reason to concede any religious superiority to those who shirk their social responsibility.
  • Their faculty in their programs shirk the responsibility.
  • Afterwards, agencies scrambled to shirk responsibility.
  • Because it is long term, it is in every generation's interests to shirk the responsibility and shift it onto the next one.
  • That's the ideology that allows entire cohorts of people to shirk responsibility for the world in which they live.
  • Departments already have an overload of professors who shirk responsibility.
  • We cannot shirk responsibility by calling the future inevitable.
  • But the parents exert the strongest influence--in one way if they do their best, in another way of they shirk their job.
  • If workers do not believe that they are treated fairly or paid adequately, they are prone to shirk.
British Dictionary definitions for shirk


to avoid discharging (work, a duty, etc); evade
a person who shirks
Word Origin
C17: probably from German Schurke rogue; see shark²


  1. the fundamental sin of regarding anything as equal to Allah
  2. any belief that is considered to be in opposition to Allah and Islam
Word Origin
from Arabic: association
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shirk

1630s, "to practice fraud or trickery," also a noun (1630s, now obsolete) "a needy, disreputable parasite" [OED], perhaps from German schurke "scoundrel, rogue, knave, villain" (see shark (n.)). Sense of "evade one's work or duty" first recorded 1785, originally in slang. Related: Shirked; shirking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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