[ nahr-koh ]
/ ˈnɑr koʊ /
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noun, plural nar·cos.Slang.
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Origin of narco

Shortening of narcotic; cf. -o

Other definitions for narco (2 of 2)


a combining form meaning “stupor,” “narcosis,” used in the formation of compound words: narcodiagnosis.
Also especially before a vowel, narc-.

Origin of narco-

<Greek nárk(ē) numbness, stiffness + -o-
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does narco- mean?

Narco- is a combining form used like a prefix referring to narcosis. In some instances, narco- is used to refer to various aspects of the trade of illegal drugs trade, i.e., narcotics.

Narcosis is a state of stupor or drowsiness, especially as induced by narcotics. Narcotics include drugs such as opiates, heroin, marijuana, and alcohol.

Narco- is often used in medical and scientific terms, including in pathology and psychiatry, and often refers to narcotic drugs.

Narco- comes from the Greek nárkē, meaning “numbness, stiffness.”

Note that narco and narc are slang for a government agent or detective charged with the enforcement of laws restricting the use of narcotics.

Both narco and narc are shortened from narcotic, which as you may have guessed, also comes from the Greek nárkē. Narc is sometimes spelled as nark and, while the two terms somewhat overlap in slang sense, nark as slang for “informer” comes from a completely different origin than narcotic. Discover its surprising source at our entry for nark.

What are variants of narco-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, narco- becomes narc, as in narcoma.

Examples of narco-

One term you may have encountered that features the combining form narco- is narcolepsy, a condition characterized by frequent and uncontrollable periods of deep sleep.

As we know, narco- means “stupor.” The second part of the word, -lepsy, is a combining form meaning “seizure,” as in epilepsy, a disorder of the nervous system that can cause loss of attention, sleepiness, and convulsion. Narcolepsy has a literal sense of “being seized by sleep.”

What are some words that use the combining form narco-?

What are some other forms that narco- may be commonly confused with?

​Break it down!

Narcodollars refers to money obtained through the illegal trafficking of what substances?

How to use narco in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for narco


sometimes before a vowel narc-

combining form
indicating numbness or torpornarcolepsy
connected with or derived from illicit drug productionnarcoeconomies

Word Origin for narco-

from Greek narkē numbness
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

Medical definitions for narco


Numbness; stupor; lethargy:narcolepsy.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.