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Etymology 1[edit]

From Romani nak (nose).

Alternative forms[edit]


nark (plural narks)

  1. (Britain, slang) A police spy or informer.
    • 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.
  2. (Australia, slang) An unpleasant person, especially one who makes things difficult for others; a spoilsport.
Related terms[edit]



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.
  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 terms[edit]


Etymology 2[edit]

See narc.


nark (plural narks)

  1. Alternative form of narc (narcotics officer).


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