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Snark

  • Snark is an interesting word with a current definition that has been in use since the turn of the twentieth century. Many people who speak English as a second language find it confusing. We will examine the definition of snark, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    Snark is a noun that means a rude, belittling, or sarcastic remark or attitude. Snark is often sarcasm, and its purpose is to criticize, scorn, or mock someone or something. Snark came into use in the 1990s and is a back-formation from the word snarky, which has been in use since the turn of the twentieth century when it meant bad-tempered or sharp. A back-formation is a word derived from an existing word, usually by removing a suffix. In the mid-1800s, the German word snarken came into use, which meant snore or snort. Many people believe snark is a portmanteau of the words snide and remark. It is not. Portmanteaus are words constructed from the blending of two existing words. Others believe Lewis Carroll invented the word in his work, The Hunting of the Snark. He did not; however, the word snark is also used to mean a fictional beast because of Carroll’s poem. The expression snark hunt is often used as an alternative expression for snipe hunt. Snark is still a popular noun for various reasons, and the adjective form is snarky.

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    Examples

    Maybe one day I’ll understand how I can love Gwyneth Paltrow and yet find that, when I open my mouth, only snark comes out. (The Columbus Dispatch)

    And lately, the burger purveyor’s snark is reaching triple-stack levels — and its trolling of competitors is colder than a Frosty shake. (The Washington Post)

    While they were clearly looking for positive content from passengers, what the T received from some of its 339,000 followers was something else entirely: a heaping helping of chocolate-covered snark. (The Boston Globe)

    Much like the original novel and film, “High Fidelity” addresses the topics of unrequited love and unbridled music snobbery with the snark and occasional earnestness that unites millenials and Gen X. (The Michigan Daily.)


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