"To lurk" is roughly defined as "to be hidden in wait, especially for an evil purpose."

Generally speaking, this verb is used in connection to something negative, but can something positive be lurking as well?

The sentence I constructed:

There just seemed to be insights lurking at every turn.

Can I use it this way? If not, what would be a good verb that indicates "hiding and waiting to pop out?"

Thank you.

  • 2
    The heavy negative connotation, and the comical sound of the verb, weigh against its use in a positive way (unless you're aiming for humour). What's wrong with '"there just seemed to be insights waiting to be discovered / waiting to pop up at every turn"? Jun 29, 2015 at 14:44

2 Answers 2


As you mentioned, to lurk generally suggests the idea of something bad or thought to be bad.

OLD suggests a usage, a more recent one, that does not necessarily have a negative connotation:

  • [intransitive] (computing) to read a discussion in a chat room, etc. on the Internet, without taking part in it yourself.

I think in your sentence, lurking would be easily understood with a negative connotation rather than a neutral or positive one.

  • an alternative more neutral wording could be : 'there just seemed to be insights waiting for you at every turn'.

In addition to confirming that lurk is a fairly negative term, I'm not sure whether "insights" can be used in this fashion either.

There is, I think, a fundamental issue with your overall point.

Traditionally, insights are of internal nature. They come from within as an intellectual discovery or awakening of understanding. As such, the idea of insights waiting, hiding, and popping out is largely incongruous with their meeting.

It would be like saying, "the catastrophe was slowly developed over a period of years". Catastrophes are generally sudden, and happen to people rather than being made.

Are you trying to say that the insights come suddenly and without effort?

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