narco

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noun

nar·​co ˈnär-(ˌ)kō How to pronounce narco (audio)
plural narcos
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 : narcotic drugs
usually used before another noun
narco traffic/traffickers
narco smuggling
see also narco- sense 2
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.

narco-

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combining form

1
: deep sleep
narcolepsy
2
[narcotic] : associated with, relating to, or engaged in the sale of illegal narcotics
narco-corruption
narco-criminals
narco-dollars [=dollars gained through the sale of illegal narcotics]

Examples of narco in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The video for the two singles starts with Cano dropping bars (backed by a more electronic-leaning sound) in the studio from the perspective of a narco with a penchant for diamonds and luxury. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 4 Apr. 2024 Mexico is rife with stories about exotic narco pets. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, 17 Jan. 2024 Most of the album’s songs narrate rags-to-riches stories with lyrics inspired by narco culture, the style of storytelling that has defined corridos bélicos. Griselda Flores, Billboard, 5 Jan. 2024 A lot of the coverage of narco issues in general has been dominated by male writers and macho narratives. Deborah Bonello, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2023 The female narco — who went by the names the Black Widow, La Madrina and the Cocaine Godmother — was one of the most powerful cocaine traffickers in the 1980s and a key figure in Miami’s drug wars. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Sep. 2023 With the proliferation of drugs has come a new narco culture. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2023 Mexican security forces call these vehicles monstruos (monsters), but they are also known as rinocerontes (rhinos) and narcotanques (narco-tanks). Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, New York Times, 1 Aug. 2023 Mexican authorities’ investigation into the killings resulted in decades-long sentences for at least five narco-satánicos, according to the Associated Press. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2023

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun

(sense 1) borrowed from American Spanish, probably short for narcotraficante "drug trafficker," from narco- narco- + traficante "dealer, trafficker"; (sense 2) from narc- (as in narcotics agent, narcotics officer) + -o entry 1

Combining form

combining form from Greek nárkē "numbness, lack of sensation"; (sense 2) in part after American Spanish narco- (as in narcodependencia "drug dependency," narcotráfico "drug trafficking") — more at narcosis

First Known Use

Noun

1954, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of narco was in 1954

Dictionary Entries Near narco

Cite this Entry

“Narco.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/narco. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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