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In a nark

July 24, 2019

Just now, after I had made some sharp retort, my wife accused me of being in a nark. You don’t hear that expression much these days. It’s of 1970s vintage, I should say. There was also an adjective, narky, meaning tetchy or irritable.

Having just looked it up I see that it originated in the 1960s. Nark (or narc) was short for a narcotics agent, ie a police officer who hounded drug offenders. This meaning was then extended to include and later to denote exclusively someone who gave information to the police officer: a copper’s nark.

How nark came to mean a state of irritation is the next question and the online dictionary had nothing to say about that. Perhaps because it is irritating to be grassed up to the police?

To end this post I should just point out that I wasn’t in a nark, all right?

From → Uncategorized

  1. kitticarriker permalink


  2. Simon Carter permalink

    I think nark is an older term, possibly from the Romany word nak meaning nose. To square the circle “grass” is said to come from rhyming slang – Grass in the Park = Nark.

  3. Have t heard that expression in a long time!

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