\ ˈsnär-kē How to pronounce snarky (audio) \

Definition of snarky

2 : sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner snarky lyrics

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from snarky

snarkily \ ˈsnär-​kə-​lē How to pronounce snarkily (audio) \ adverb

Snarky vs. Sarcastic

Some have questioned whether snarky is a real word. There can be no doubt that it is; the adjective has been recorded in English since 1906. Its original meaning, “crotchety, snappish,” has largely been overtaken, however, by the far more frequently-encountered sense “sarcastic, impertinent or irreverent.” The precise difference between utterances described as sarcastic and snarky will vary somewhat based on the individual using each word. Some feel that sarcastic usually implies irony, or stating the opposite of what is really intended (for example, “thank you so much for your promptness” spoken to someone who arrives late), whereas snarky implies simple impertinence or irreverence (as when Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess asks Isobel Crawley, “does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?”)

Examples of snarky in a Sentence

The writer at No. 10, Fred Mustard Stewart, died last February at 74. His obituary in The Guardian contained this snarky observation: "Year in, year out, the 600-page mark did not daunt him." — Dwight Garner, New York Times Book Review, 24 Feb. 2008 Edwards says his notorious $400 haircut and his 28,000-square-foot house are the obsessions of the media, not "normal voters." (He does have a snarkier press corps than RFK. Not only did reporters not criticize the size of Kennedy's Virginia mansion, they wrote fawning prose about the senator in the hopes of scoring an invitation.) — Jonathan Darman, Newsweek, 30 July 2007 If your coworker confronts you, admit you were wrong. But don't overexplain your snarky comment—she may get angrier. — Margaret Magnarelli, Glamour, April 2002 Even when he pays someone a compliment, it comes out snarky; recently Valentine said he thought Atlanta's Bobby Cox should be named National League Manager of the Year "because he's had to manage this year." It doesn't matter that until Monday, Valentine managed 1,703 games without making the playoffs. — S. L. Price, Sports Illustrated, 11 Oct. 1999 working all day with such snarky jerks is exhausting with champagne as a lubricant, she unleashed an unending series of snarky comments for the duration of the wedding reception
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Aside from snarky tweets, Mr. Sanders hasn’t responded. Reid J. Epstein, New York Times, "Why the Democratic Debates Are Starting to Feel Like a Reality Show," 19 July 2019 Beauty and the Beast,' Beauty and the Beast (1991) No snarky remarks here. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Ranked: The 25 best classic Disney songs, from 'Mary Poppins' to 'The Lion King'," 16 July 2019 Still to be announced is a narrator for the show — a key role that is an often amusingly snarky part of the U.K. version. James Hibberd,, "CBS reveals its Love Island host," 20 June 2019 Instagram account @CommentsByCelebs captured even more interactions between Reese and Hollywood's finest on her snarky post, and each one was better than the next. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Reese Witherspoon Responds to Rumors That She's Pregnant With Her Fourth Child," 18 Mar. 2019 The track, which leads Michaels' Inner Monologue Part 1 EP, is a stark, honest, and sometimes snarky portrait of living with depression and anxiety. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Selena Gomez and Julia Michaels Get Real About Anxiety in a Candid New Song," 24 Jan. 2019 Getty ImagesMichael Kovac Kaley Cuoco and Jim Parsons have a sweet dynamic on their hit show The Big Bang Theory, now in its last season, as snarky friends Penny and Sheldon. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Kaley Cuoco's 33rd Birthday Celebrations Were Ruined by Jim Parsons," 30 Nov. 2018 The whole fanzine culture, Gerard Cosloy [the editor of Conflict], was snarky and sarcastic, like Mad Magazine gone hipster, with music. Rob Tannenbaum, New York Times, "Stephen Malkmus Doesn’t Think He Was a Jerk," 14 May 2018 Janetti has perfected the art of the side-by-side, positioning the young Prince as a snarky commentator on all things royal. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Instagram's Favorite Prince George Meme-maker, Gary Janetti, Is Releasing a Book," 5 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'snarky.' 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 snarky

1906, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for snarky

dialectal snark to annoy, perhaps alteration of nark to irritate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about snarky

Dictionary Entries near snarky






snarling iron


Statistics for snarky

Last Updated

24 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for snarky

The first known use of snarky was in 1906

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on snarky

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with snarky

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for snarky

Comments on snarky

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


not constant or steady

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

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!