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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Jan 24, 2006 11:41 pm

• snarky •

Pronunciation: snah(r)-ki • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Irritable, snappy, cranky, grumpy.

Notes: The noun from which today's Good Word is derived is a bit snarky itself from being ignored for a century or so. (See Word History for which noun it is.) The adjective, however, is still alive and well with a healthy, happy family. It may be compared as snarkier and snarkiest, while snarkiness is the stuff that makes us snarky. You may behave snarkily, too, on a bad hair day.

In Play: The English language presents us with so many words to express being out of sorts, it is a pleasant surprise to find one that isn't a cliché: "I'm not surprised that Parker Carr is a bit snarky with Rita; she treats him like her personal valet." Of course, we all have those moments: "Well, yes, Andy Doat did get a bit snarky when Leticia spilled the beans on his new toupee." (This sentence works with either of its two meanings.)

Word History: Snarky is remindful of the target in Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark, the imaginary animal that cohabits an island with the jubjub, bandersnatch, and jabberwock. However, it is unrelated. Today's Good Word comes from Middle Germanic snarken "snore, snort", found today in Swedish snarka "to snore" and German schnarchen "to snore". A German dialectal variant, Schnorchel "nose" (= snorer) gave us snorkel. By the 1880s it had come to mean "to grumble or complain" and by 1906 it emerged with today's meaning. (This lexical sparkler among the dull and dreary words meaning "cranky" came from Christine Casalini, an editor and writer living in Boston.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword

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Postby Stargzer » Wed Jan 25, 2006 1:19 am

Hmmmm . . . I thought SNARK sounded familiar! It was named for the Lewis Carroll creature.

Here's another picture and more history.

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Far from snarky!

Postby sugarmelter » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:34 am

So happy to see my suggestion featured as a good word! I discovered this word a while ago and have been seeing it in the press more and more lately. It's quite descriptive!
- christine

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Pop definition...

Postby MNgyal » Mon Feb 06, 2006 11:13 am

Could just be me, but most of the people I know use snarky to mean witty or dry-humored or irreverent instead of cranky. It's used that way in pop culture today as well.

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