See also: Lark

English

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a crested lark (Galerida cristata)

Alternative forms

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From Middle English larke, laverke, from Old English lāwerce, lǣwerce, lāuricæ, from Proto-West Germanic *laiwarikā, from Proto-Germanic *laiwarikǭ, *laiwazikǭ (compare dialectal West Frisian larts, Dutch leeuwerik, German Lerche), from *laiwaz (borrowed into Finnish leivo, Estonian lõo), of unknown ultimate origin with no definitive cognates outside of Germanic.

Noun

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lark (plural larks)

  1. Any of various small, singing passerine birds of the family Alaudidae.
  2. Any of various similar-appearing birds, but usually ground-living, such as the meadowlark and titlark.
  3. (by extension) One who wakes early; one who is up with the larks.
    Synonyms: early bird, early riser
    Antonym: owl
  4. A jolly or peppy person.
    • 1990, Wayne Jancik, The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders, →ISBN, page 238:
      Charles Randolph Grean is married to pop lark and multi-hit artist Betty Johnson.
Hyponyms
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Derived terms
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Translations
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Verb

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lark (third-person singular simple present larks, present participle larking, simple past and past participle larked)

  1. To catch larks (type of bird).
    to go larking

References

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Etymology 2

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Uncertain, either

  • from a northern English dialectal term lakelaik (to play) (around 1300, from Old Norse leika (to play (as opposed to work))), with an intrusive -r- as is common in southern British dialects; or
  • a shortening of skylark (1809), sailors' slang, "play roughly in the rigging of a ship", because the common European larks were proverbial for high-flying; Dutch has a similar idea in speelvogel (playbird, a person of markedly playful nature).

Noun

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lark (plural larks)

  1. A frolic or romp, some fun.
    • 1838, Boz [pseudonym; Charles Dickens], chapter 43, in Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I, II, or III), London: Richard Bentley, [], →OCLC:
      ‘Ha! ha!’ laughed Master Bates, ‘what a lark that would be, wouldn’t it, Fagin? I say, how the Artful would bother ’em wouldn’t he?’
    • 1878, Henry James, An International Episode[1]:
      “Oh, dear, no,” said the young Englishman; “my cousin was coming over on some business, so I just came across, at an hour’s notice, for the lark.”
    • 2011 August 4, Stephen Holden, “Stoned Archive: Wild Ride Of the Merry Pranksters”, in The New York Times[2], →ISSN:
      Thanks partly to Tom Wolfe’s raised-eyebrow account, “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” that bohemian lark has been retrospectively hailed as the flash point of the emerging hippie counterculture.
    • 2018 November, Alexis C. Madrigal, “The Dangers of YouTube for Young Children”, in The Atlantic[3]:
      What began as a lark has grown into something very, very big, inflating the company’s ambitions.
  2. A prank.
    • 1912 (date written), [George] Bernard Shaw, “Pygmalion”, in Androcles and the Lion, Overruled, Pygmalion, London: Constable and Company, published 1916, →OCLC, Act V, page 173:
      doolittle. [] [T]hanks to your silly joking, he leaves me a share in his Pre-digested Cheese Trust worth three thousand a year on condition that I lecture for his Wannafeller Moral Reform World League as often as they ask me up to six times a year. / higgins. The devil he does! Whew! [Brightening suddenly] What a lark!
Synonyms
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Derived terms
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Translations
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Verb

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lark (third-person singular simple present larks, present participle larking, simple past and past participle larked)

  1. To sport, engage in harmless pranking.
    • 1848 November – 1850 December, William Makepeace Thackeray, chapter 68, in The History of Pendennis. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1849–1850, →OCLC:
      [T]hey laugh at us old boys,” thought old Pendennis. And he was not far wrong; the times and manners which he admired were pretty nearly gone—the gay young men “larked” him irreverently []
    • 1855, Elizabeth Gaskell, chapter 35, in North and South[4]:
      [] the porter at the rail-road had seen a scuffle; or when he found it was likely to bring him in as a witness, then it might not have been a scuffle, only a little larking []
  2. To frolic, engage in carefree adventure.
Derived terms
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Translations
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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

References

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  • Douglas Harper (2001–2024) “lark”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
  • Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967

Anagrams

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