\ 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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Instead of sharing something toxic with a snarky comment about human idiocy, enroll as a volunteer/tutor/mentor. Let’s try it. Heidi Stevens,, "Column: Pink issued an internet challenge to the world: Go one day without criticizing anyone. I’m in! You?," 22 Aug. 2019 On her way to the grocery store, June collects supplies from the other handmaids for her plan to smuggle the children out of Gilead, and even delivers a few snarky comments to a clearly suspicious Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd). Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 3 finale recap: A gorgeous and completely nonsensical ending," 14 Aug. 2019 Logan – once the perennial screw-up with a snarky retort for every conversation – is now far more emotionally evolved than Veronica, attending therapy and excelling in a military career. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: Hulu's 'Veronica Mars' is the best TV revival in years," 20 May 2019 Yet the meme has since been widely used to convey sarcastic and snarky reactions. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "Kamala Harris says 'it's been sort of strange' seeing meme of her waving go viral," 15 Aug. 2019 The special is filled with funny and snarky quotes, and there are even a few thrown in there for the adults. Micaela English, Town & Country, "The Best Quotes From It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown To Get You In The Spirit of Halloween," 6 Aug. 2019 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

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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Dictionary Entries near snarky






snarling iron


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Last Updated

2 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for snarky

The first known use of snarky was in 1906

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