snarky

adjective
\ 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
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Recent Examples on the Web The snarky comment came during the final hours of Trump's presidency and underscored the prickly relationship between the two nations. Barnini Chakraborty, Washington Examiner, "China delivers parting shot to Trump and Pompeo: 'Good riddance!'," 20 Jan. 2021 It’s the kind of line Irby deploys to delicious effect throughout her books—at once wistful, snarky, and just a bit morbid. The Atlantic Culture Desk, The Atlantic, "The Books Briefing: The Best Books of 2020," 25 Dec. 2020 It’s the kind of line Irby deploys to delicious effect throughout her books—at once wistful, snarky, and just a bit morbid. The Atlantic Culture Desk, The Atlantic, "The Books Briefing: The Best Books of 2020," 25 Dec. 2020 Penelope Featherington snacked on sophisticated sandwiches while her snarky sisters sat nearby. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Thanks to Bridgerton, Fancy Tea Sets Have Become the New Home Must-Have," 21 Jan. 2021 For a while, this setup feels a little low-stakes and after-school-special-ish, the novel threatening to drift into a rote if entertainingly snarky tale of cross-cultural understanding. Mark Athitakis, Star Tribune, "Review: 'How I Learned to Hate in Ohio,' by David Stuart MacLean," 15 Jan. 2021 It’s the kind of line Irby deploys to delicious effect throughout her books—at once wistful, snarky, and just a bit morbid. The Atlantic Culture Desk, The Atlantic, "The Books Briefing: The Best Books of 2020," 25 Dec. 2020 But lots of questions remain about the style, tone, audience and ultimate success of these snarky videos. The Salt Lake Tribune, "FairMormon’s new satirical videos take on church critics, but does the humor miss the mark?," 12 Dec. 2020 It’s the kind of line Irby deploys to delicious effect throughout her books—at once wistful, snarky, and just a bit morbid. The Atlantic Culture Desk, The Atlantic, "The Books Briefing: The Best Books of 2020," 25 Dec. 2020

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

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Snarky.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/snarky. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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