Larking about

Posted by Lotg on May 14, 2003

In Reply to: Larking about posted by James Briggs on May 11, 2003

: : Can anyone shed any light on the origins of the phrase 'larking about' . .? It has several (UK) regional derivatives, 'Lakin' being just one.
: : Commonly used, 'Larking about' means to mess around (when one should be paying attention', but in the North of England it's also used by children to describe 'playing' andby adults to mean 'sciving' . . any help out there?
: : Thanks

: To lark about is to play around; to frolic; to go on a spree. The main word seems inappropriate until one realises that it comes from the Middle English 'laik', to play, and the Old English 'lac', a contest. To Skylark is a modern extension.

: It really intrigues me that this term has evolved from 'laik' and 'lac', but then you threw in a curly one - 'skylark'. Why would such a term come about? I know what it means. But why 'skylark'? Is it because people have come to equate the word 'lark' directly with the bird and hence the 'sky' bit? Or is there in fact a bird that is actually called a 'skylark'?