narco

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

Definition of narco

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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/traffickersnarco 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.

Definition of narco- (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : deep sleep narcolepsy
2 [narcotic] : associated with, relating to, or engaged in the sale of illegal narcotics narco-terrorism 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 Mexican officials and analysts are studying the American gun culture, as U.S. officials have tried to make sense of the Mexican narco-trafficking culture. Washington Post, "The sniper rifles flowing to Mexican cartels show a decade of U.S. failure," 19 Nov. 2020 In Netflix narco-dramas, Joaquín (El Chapo) Guzmán, the former boss of the Sinaloa drug gang, is the country’s chief mobster. The Economist, "Hand-ups, not handcuffs How will Mexico’s president handle “El Mencho”, a kingpin on the rise?," 15 Aug. 2020 Presumably, this teenage narco in the middle of Guerrero instantly understands the reference to U.S. Midwestern backwardness. Sarah Menkedick, Longreads, "American Dirt: A Bridge to Nowhere," 10 Aug. 2020 Strange, fetishistic details like those, the kind that baffled and obsessed Bolaño’s fictional reporters in 2666, indicate a different species of violence from narco killings. Seth Harp, Harper's Magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 27 Apr. 2020 In addition to indicting Maduro, the Justice Department indicted an array of Venezuelan officials, plus members of the FARC, the Colombian narco-terrorist group. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 2 Apr. 2020 Strange, fetishistic details like those, the kind that baffled and obsessed Bolaño’s fictional reporters in 2666, indicate a different species of violence from narco killings. Christine Smallwood, Harper's Magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 30 Mar. 2020 Now, for the first time, the federal government has disclosed the number of clandestine sites where those who have been disappeared in Mexico’s raging narco-violence have turned up. Mary Beth Sheridan, BostonGlobe.com, "Mexican government says more than 3,000 hidden graves found in the search for the disappeared," 2 Sep. 2019 Strange, fetishistic details like those, the kind that baffled and obsessed Bolaño’s fictional reporters in 2666, indicate a different species of violence from narco killings. Christine Smallwood, Harper's Magazine, "In Harm’s Way," 30 Mar. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of narco

Noun

1954, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for narco

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

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Time Traveler for narco

Time Traveler

The first known use of narco was in 1954

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Statistics for narco

Last Updated

30 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Narco.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/narco. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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