c. 1200, from a Scandinavian source such as Norwegian skulke "to shirk, malinger," Danish skulke "to spare oneself, shirk," Swedish skolka "to shirk, skulk, slink, play truant." Common in Middle English but lacking in 15c.-16c. records; possibly reborrowed 17c. Related: Skulked; skulking; skulkery. Skulker as an old name for the hare is attested from c. 1300. Middle English also had skulkerie "concealment, stealthy behavior or action" c. 1400.