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noun (1)

variants or less commonly nark
plural narcs also narks
: a person (such as a government agent) who investigates narcotics crimes : narco
an undercover narc


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noun (2)

variants or less commonly nark
plural narcs also narks
: a person who informs on another especially to the authorities : snitch
It wasn't me who called the cops—I'm not a narc.


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narced also narc'd; narcing also narc-ing; narcs

intransitive verb

: to give information (as of another's wrongdoing) especially to an authority : snitch, inform
often used with on
Luckily, no one narced on us because we were breaking a ton of rules.Laurence W. Holmes
And we call the five-year old the safety patrol. She spends a fair amount of time narcing on her older brothers.Craig Melvin

transitive verb

: to snitch or inform on (someone) : rat
usually used with out
These trainers weren't going to narc out any of their athletes.Dick Harmon
On May 20th, 1985, a chief warrant officer in the U.S. Navy was arrested by the FBI after his wife basically narced him out to the U.S. government for spying for the Soviet Union.Rachel Maddow


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noun (3)

plural narcs
: narcissist
Self-help websites offer pointers on dealing with the "narcs" in our lives, and bloggers lay out a taxonomy of the narcissists we might encounter down the line.David Scharfenberg
Kind souls and empaths are low hanging fruit for narcs because they have what narcs don't and never will …"Gott Toneaux", on

Examples of narc in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
You’re automatically dubbed a narc, a kiss-ass, a too-cool. Brandi California, SPIN, 1 July 2024 The software, which would effectively act like a narc embedded on people’s iPhones, could have unintended consequences, critics said, despite Apple’s assurances that it would be used solely to stop child predators. Declan Harty, Fortune, 15 Oct. 2021 In that same breath, Kenya Moore explaining to Latoya what a narc was in an insult to Drew was a stunning lack of cognitive dissonance with her behavior over the course of this season. Shamira Ibrahim, Vulture, 18 Apr. 2021 His successor also has the mindset of an undercover narc. Steve Chapman,, 14 Aug. 2020 And while Jamie would have handled this situation perfectly, Roger straight-up turns Isaiah over like a total narc, gets everyone wasted on whiskey, and a bunch of people ditch his militia as a result. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 Mar. 2020 All staffed by unattractive people in their late twenties, professional narcs with bad skin and waterproof sandals. Emma Cline, The New Yorker, 24 June 2019 El Diario reports that fans have downloaded that app more than 10 million times, essentially turning them into undercover narcs. Dami Lee, The Verge, 12 June 2019 Remember to act surprised when a piece of turquoise comes shooting out of your airway, in case this Good Samaritan is also a narc. Sarah Lazarus, The New Yorker, 8 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'narc.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1)

short for narcotics agent or a similar collocation

Noun (2)

perhaps borrowed from English Romani nok "nose"

Note: Compare Prakrit nakka-, ṇakka- "nose," from which forms in most Modern Indo-Aryan languages proceed; nakka- is taken to be an outcome of Old Indo-Aryan *nā̆ska-, a derivative of nas- "nose" (see other Indo-European cognates at nose entry 1). The English Romani form nok is given in B.C. Smart and A.T. Crofton, The Dialect of the English Gypsies, 2nd edition (London, 1875); his <o> is as in "not," and so would seem to represent [ɒ]. The Welsh Romani correspondent is nakh (J. Samson, The Dialect of the Gypsies of Wales), which is also the form in "Common Romani" (to use Yaron Matras's term for early Romani forms carried over into the majority of modern dialects). Oxford English Dictionary, third edition, notes that <ar>, presumably [ɑ:], is not a good representation of the Romani vowel, a factor that would speak against the correctness of a Romani etymology for narc/nark. The Oxford editors group under the same entry the senses "informer," "police officer" and "annoying and unpleasant person or thing," though the meaning of nark in the first citation for this latter sense, an imitation of underworld argot, is far from clear, and there is a sixty-year gap between this and the following citation.


derivative of narc entry 2

Noun (3)

short for narcissist entry 1

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1966, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1859, in the meaning defined above


1979, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun (3)

circa 2005, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of narc was in 1859

Dictionary Entries Near narc

Cite this Entry

“Narc.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also nark
: a person (as a government agent) who investigates narcotics violations

More from Merriam-Webster on narc

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