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  1. British Slang. a stool pigeon or informer.
  2. Australian Slang. an annoying person.
verb (used without object)
  1. British Slang. to act as a police informer or stool pigeon.
  2. Australian Slang. to become annoyed.

Origin of nark1

First recorded in 1860–65, nark is from the Romany word nāk nose


  1. narc.


or nark

noun Slang.
  1. a government agent or detective charged with the enforcement of laws restricting the use of narcotics.

Origin of narc

1965–70, Americanism; shortening of narcotic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for narks

Historical Examples

  • I may as well say at once that these three men were "narks."


    W. H. (William Henry) Davies

  • Most deputies in lodging-houses were in the first place "narks."


    W. H. (William Henry) Davies

  • A man cannot be a very long time on the road before he understands the meaning of the word "narks."


    W. H. (William Henry) Davies

British Dictionary definitions for narks


  1. US slang a narcotics agent


  1. British, Australian and NZ an informer or spy, esp one working for the police (copper's nark)
  2. British a person who complains irritatinglyan old nark
  3. Australian and NZ a spoilsport
  1. British, Australian and NZ to annoy, upset, or irritatehe was narked by her indifference
  2. (intr) British, Australian and NZ to inform or spy, esp for the police
  3. (intr) British to complain irritatingly
  4. nark at someone NZ to nag someone
  5. nark it British stop it!

Word Origin

C19: probably from Romany nāk nose
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for narks



1967 (earlier narco, 1960), American English slang, shortened form of narcotics agent. Had been used 1955 for narcotics hospital, 1958 for narcotics addict. Sense and spelling tending to merge with older but unrelated nark (q.v.).


1859, "to act as a police informer" (v.); 1860, "police informer" (n.), probably from Romany nak "nose," from Hindi nak, from Sanskrit nakra, which probably is related to Sanskrit nasa "nose" (see nose (n.)). Sense and spelling tending to merge with etymologically unrelated narc (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper