Etymology
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shirk (v.)

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.

updated on September 22, 2013

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Definitions of shirk from WordNet

shirk (v.)
avoid (one's assigned duties);
The derelict soldier shirked his duties
Synonyms: fiddle / shrink from / goldbrick
shirk (v.)
avoid dealing with;
She shirks her duties
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.