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See more synonyms for nark on Thesaurus.com
  1. British Slang. a stool pigeon or informer.
  2. Australian Slang. an annoying person.
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verb (used without object)
  1. British Slang. to act as a police informer or stool pigeon.
  2. Australian Slang. to become annoyed.
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Origin of nark1

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


  1. narc.
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or nark

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

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

Related Words


Examples from the Web for nark

Historical Examples

  • The searchlight from the Nark was playing full upon the scene.

    The Radio Boys with the Revenue Guards

    Gerald Breckenridge

  • A hail came from Jackson, second in command of the Nark, at once.

  • It was the sole commandment that ran there:—'Thou shalt not nark.'

    A Child of the Jago

    Arthur Morrison

  • "Nark (p. 091) the doin's, nark it," he cried and fired his rifle.

    The Red Horizon

    Patrick MacGill

  • He resolved to depart from his evil ways and to become a nark—a copper's nark—which is a police spy, or informer.

    Tales of Mean Streets

    Arthur Morrison

British Dictionary definitions for nark


  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
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  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!
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Word Origin

C19: probably from Romany nāk nose


  1. US slang a narcotics agent
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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 nark

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.).

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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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper