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Etymology 1Edit

Uncertain. Perhaps from Angloromani nok (nose), from Romani nak, from Sauraseni Prakrit 𑀡𑀓𑁆𑀓 (ṇakka), ultimately a doublet of nose.

Alternative formsEdit


nark (plural narks)

  1. (Britain, slang) A police spy or informer.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:informant
    • 1879 October, J[ohn] W[illiam] Horsley, “Autobiography of a Thief in Thieves’ Language”, in Macmillan’s Magazine, volume XL, number 240, London: Macmillan and Co. [], OCLC 1005958675, page 505, column 1:
      So I went and laid down on the grass. While laying there I piped a reeler whom I knew. He had a nark (a policeman's spy) with him. So I went and looked about for my two pals, and told them to look out for F. and his nark.
    • 1912, George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion, Act I,
      It’s a—well, it’s a copper’s nark, as you might say. What else would you call it? A sort of informer.
    • 1938, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 12, in Homage to Catalonia[1], London: Secker & Warburg:
      When we got to the Chief of Police's office a crowd of the most dreadful-looking scoundrels, obviously police narks, informers, and spies of every kind, were hanging about outside the door.
  2. (Australia, slang) An unpleasant person, especially one who makes things difficult for others.
    Synonyms: spoilsport; see also Thesaurus:jerk, Thesaurus:git
Related termsEdit



nark (third-person singular simple present narks, present participle narking, simple past and past participle narked)

  1. (transitive, thieves' cant) To watch; to observe.
  2. (intransitive, slang) To serve or behave as a spy or informer.
    Synonyms: rat, tattle; see also Thesaurus:rat out
    “If you nark on me, I’ll rip your arms off,” said Tim to his brother, as he passed him a joint.
  3. (transitive, slang) To annoy or irritate.
    It really narks me when people smoke in restaurants.
  4. (intransitive, slang) To complain.
    He narks in my ear all day, moaning about his problems.
  5. (transitive, slang, often imperative) To stop.
    Nark it! I hear someone coming!

Derived termsEdit


Etymology 2Edit

See narc.


nark (plural narks)

  1. Alternative form of narc (narcotics officer).


  • nark” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–present.
  • Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989.