AskDefine | Define lurking

Dictionary Definition

lurking adj
1 concealed and unsuspected; "lurking dangers"; "search for lurking ambiguities"
2 marked by quiet and caution and secrecy; taking pains to avoid being observed; "a furtive manner"; "a lurking prowler"; "a sneak attack"; "stealthy footsteps"; "a surreptitious glance at his watch"; "someone skulking in the shadows" [syn: furtive, skulking, sneak(a), sneaky, stealthy, surreptitious]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. present participle of lurk

Extensive Definition

In Internet culture, a lurker is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, chatroom, file sharing or other interactive system, but rarely participates.


The term dates back to the mid-1980s. Because BBSs were often accessed by a single phone line (frequently in someone's home), there was an expectation that all who used a bulletin board would contribute to its content by uploading files and posting comments. Lurkers were viewed negatively, and might be barred from access by the sysop, if they did not contribute anything but kept the phone line tied up for extended periods.
By contrast, many modern Internet communities now advise newbies to lurk for some time to get a feel for the specific culture and etiquette of the community, lest they make an inappropriate or redundant comment, ask a Frequently Asked Question, or incite a flame war. This leads to the tongue-in-cheek command to "lurk more". The verb to "de-lurk" means to start contributing actively to a community having been a lurker previously.
There are also some who lurk on a forum habitually, and rarely, if ever, contribute. It is generally difficult to guess how many such lurkers are present, due to their silence. In flame-wars, a participant who is losing an argument will sometimes claim to receive email support from lurkers. This inspired Jo Walton to write a filk on the subject entitled "The Lurkers Support Me in Email".


See also

Further reading

  • From Usenet to Co Webs: Interacting with social information spaces

External links

lurking in Danish: Lurker
lurking in German: Lurker
lurking in Spanish: Lurker
lurking in French: Lurker
lurking in Italian: Lurker
lurking in Dutch: Lurker
lurking in Japanese: リードオンリーメンバー

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abeyant, about to be, already in sight, approaching, at hand, between the lines, brewing, close, close at hand, coming, covert, cryptic, delitescent, doggo, dormant, esoteric, forthcoming, furtive, future, gathering, going to happen, hibernating, hidden, hidden out, immediate, imminent, impendent, impending, in ambush, in danger imminent, in hiding, in prospect, in reserve, in store, in the cards, in the offing, in the wind, in the wings, in view, instant, latent, looming, lowering, menacing, muffled, mystic, near, near at hand, nearing, obfuscated, obscured, occult, on the horizon, on tiptoe, overhanging, possible, potential, preparing, prowling, pussyfoot, pussyfooted, quiescent, skulking, sleeping, sneaking, stealing, stealthy, submerged, surreptitious, that will be, threatening, to come, under cover, under the surface, underlying, unmanifested, upcoming, veiled, virtual, waiting, waiting concealed
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