nar·​co | \ ˈnär-(ˌ)kō How to pronounce narco (audio) \
plural narcos

Definition of narco

1 US slang : one who traffics or deals drugs illegally One of the ways for big narcos to launder drug money was to acquire land.— Maureen Orth … the US government has for the past fifteen years been waging all-out war on the Colombian narcos, with little to show for it.— Michael Massing also : illegal narcotics … a country that's in danger of being taken over by narco traffickers. — Mark Binelli
2 US slang : a person investigating narcotics violations : narc Students also have agitated against university acquiescence in the presence on the campus of "narcos"—police agents seeking to make arrests for violations of narcotics laws …— Earl C. Gottschalk Jr.

Examples of narco in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Alfredo told Zune, insinuating that she might even be involved with the narcos. Rachel Nolan, Harper's magazine, "Destined for Export," 10 June 2019 In 2015, El Nacional’s editors republished a piece from the Spanish newspaper ABC about a U.S. investigation into the narco-trafficking links of Diosdado Cabello, a senior member of Maduro’s government. Rachelle Krygier, Washington Post, "As it slides toward authoritarianism, Venezuela targets one of its last independent newspapers," 5 July 2018 Meanwhile, more migrants seeking asylum who did not travel with the caravan are arriving at the port, including families from areas in southern Mexico ravaged by narco-trafficking violence. Daniel González, azcentral, "Migrant caravan remains stalled at U.S.-Mexico border," 30 Apr. 2018 Mexico’s strategy to stop narco-trafficking has stagnated. Martha Pskowski, The New Republic, "The Radical Amnesty Plan of Mexico’s Next President," 2 July 2018 Treasury accused him of corruption, narco-trafficking and mineral smuggling. Antonio Maria Delgado, miamiherald, "Report: U.S. confiscated $800 million from top Venezuelan official," 12 June 2018 Should the profits of the drug trade flow to murderers and narco-terrorists, or to the coffers of state and federal governments? WSJ, "Legalizing Marijuana: The Pros and Cons," 20 June 2018 As Duterte’s sky-high approval ratings attest, his portrayal of the Philippines as a crime-ridden, near narco state enjoys popular support. Time, "A New Netflix Series Tells the Story of the Philippines' Drug War. But Its Critics Are Condemning Amo as Propaganda," 30 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'narco.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of narco

1960, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about narco

Statistics for narco

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for narco

The first known use of narco was in 1960

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on narco

Spanish Central: Translation of narco

Comments on narco

What made you want to look up narco? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a calculated move

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!