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

Definition of snarky

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

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Other Words from snarky

snarkily \ ˈsnär-​kə-​lē How to pronounce snarky (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 The Save the Kids series marked Findeisen’s transition from a snarky YouTube critic to something more akin to an investigative journalist. Rachel Monroe, The New Yorker, 14 May 2022 Indeed, his wit, a distinctive and delicious blend of salty, sweet and snarky, is on frequent display in his wonderful book. Washington Post, 1 May 2022 Kourtney is understandably still feeling salty about Scott's decision to send her ex, a model named Younes, snarky DMs about Kourtney's PDA with Travis Barker in Italy. Kristen Baldwin,, 14 Apr. 2022 Reynolds plays a time-traveling pilot from 2050 who crash-lands in 2022 and teams with his snarky 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell) to fix the future. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2022 Rock also made a snarky comment on the Instagram profile of Smith’s ex-wife Sheree Zampino, the father of their son Trey. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 30 Mar. 2022 Motherhood is full of peaks and valleys, and this snarky adult coloring book full of memes brings humor to it all. Christian Gollayan, Men's Health, 25 Mar. 2022 Aside from one high-profile slip at the beginning, Gilbert has won plaudits for throttling back his snarky side to keep the House from going off the rails in partisan bickering. Washington Post, 16 Mar. 2022 The old Eve would have probably delivered a snarky quip. Kat Rosenfield,, 28 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Snarky.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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