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From Middle English chirken, cherken, charken, from Old English ċircian, ċearcian, ċærcian (to chatter, creak; chirk, chirp), a metathetic variant of Old English cracian (to crack, sound, ring out, resound), from Proto-Germanic *krakōną (to make a noise, crack).


chirk (third-person singular simple present chirks, present participle chirking, simple past and past participle chirked)

  1. (intransitive, especially as chirk up) To become happier.
    • 1917, Sewell Ford, Wilt Thou Torchy[1]:
    • 1908, Grace Livingston Hill Lutz, Marcia Schuyler[2]:
      Now you jest wipe your eyes and chirk up.
    • 1894, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), Tom Sawyer Abroad[3]:
      "Go ahead," he says, and I see Jim chirk up to listen.
  2. (transitive, especially as chirk up) To make happier.
    • 1912, Zona Gale, Christmas[4]:
      But--" "Well, I think," said Mis' Jane Moran, "that we've hit on the only way we could have hit on to chirk each other up over a hard time."
  3. To make the sound of a bird; to chirp.


chirk (comparative chirker or more chirk, superlative chirkest or most chirk)

  1. (colloquial, US, chiefly New England) lively; cheerful; in good spirits

Usage notes[edit]

  • The comparative and superlative forms of chirky, chirkier and chirkiest, are sometimes used suppletively as comparative and superlative forms of chirk.


Alternative forms[edit]


From Old English cracian, ċearcian, ċiercian, from Proto-Germanic *krakōną (to crack; crackle; shriek).


  • IPA(key): [tʃɪrk], [tʃʌrk]


chirk (plural chirks)

  1. a harsh grating or creaking noise
  2. (geology, North Northern Scots, Orkney, Shetland) wet gravelly subsoil


chirk (third-person singular present chirks, present participle chirkin, past chirkit, past participle chirkit)

  1. to make a harsh, strident noise
  2. (of a door) to creak
  3. (of the teeth or gums) to gnash, rub together
  4. to make a squelching noise

Derived terms[edit]