Two outrageous WOTYs

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jan 11 03:31:41 UTC 2009

On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 8:29 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
> "body-snarking" -- Is this from "[hunting for a] snark"?  But the
> snark is imaginary, whereas the posted bodies, presumably, are real.
This is probably as in "snarky". M-W: 2. sarcastic, impertinent, or
irreverent in tone or manner <snarky lyrics>

My word! I'd assumed the verb was a back-form, but OED has it from 24
years before (first cites):

snarky, a.
Irritable, short-tempered, 'narky'.
1906 E. NESBIT Railway Children ii. 49 Don't be snarky, Peter. It
isn't our fault.

snark, v. (dialectal)
intr. and trans. To find fault (with), to nag.
1882 Jamieson's Sc. Dict. IV. 314/2 To Snark, fret, grumble, or
find fault with one.

A Google definition search also turned up this folk etymology from
Urbandictionary which someone blithely cited in her thesis:

Combination of "snide" and "remark". Sarcastic comment(s).

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

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