I use this word occasionally myself. I like the sound of it. Somehow
I'd always associated it with Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the
Snark," but it turns out that this was not the word's source. The
meaning of "snarky" varies, depending upon which side of the pond the
source is on; while Brits may mean something like "sarcastically
critical" or "overly nitpicky" when they use "snarky," most of the
American and Canadian uses that I've encountered seem to use the word
in the sense of "snide," "catty," "snotty," or "bitchy." (Please
forgive the rather rude words, but it's hard to discuss slang terms
without using a few vulgarities).
"Snarky means critical in an annoying, sarcastic, grumpy,
wisecracking, or cynical sort of way. ... The adjective snarky is
first recorded in 1906. It is from dialectal British snark, meaning
'to nag, find fault with', which is probably the same word as snark,
snork, meaning 'to snort, snore'. (The likely connection is the
derisive snorting sound of someone who is always finding fault.) Most
dictionaries label snarky as "Chiefly British Slang." But for the last
five or more years, it has become increasingly common in American
publications, maybe ones infiltrated by British or Canadian writers
Random House: The Mavens' Word of the Day - Snarky
"WHAT'S UP WITH SNARKY? That only sounds like a new teen movie. But
for months I've been wondering how come this useful, off-the-trails
word has made such a comeback it has almost become a cliche. Now I
think I know: It's a small illustration of the growing power of Web
logs, or blogs. Online journals that can be about anything from
national politics to one person's obsession with Ashton Kutcher, blogs
create a Web-linked culture that frequently acts like the cool clique
in high school. When the blogosphere--as bloggers call their
domain--beats the drums, it can resound through the culture. Everybody
starts talking about what the cool kids are saying. Since about every
blog I've looked at recently has used snarky--means witty, cheeky,
though more often is used to mean snotty--the word has taken on a new
Los Angeles Magazine: The wonk who blogged me
"Snarky (adjective) describes a witty mannerism, personality, or
behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism. Usually
accepted as a complimentary term. Snark is sometimes mistaken for a
snotty or arrogant attitude.
Her snarky remarks had half the room on the floor laughing and the
other half ready to walk out."
Urban Dictionary: Snarky
My Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary says this of "snarky":
1 chiefly Britain: CROTCHETY : SNAPPISH
2 marked by a sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent manner"
From Dictionary.com, whose source is The American Heritage Dictionary
of the English Language:
adj. Slang snark·i·er, snark·i·est
Irritable or short-tempered; irascible.
[From dialectal snark, to nag, from snark, snork, to snore, snort,
from Dutch and Low German snorken, of imitative origin.]"
Google search strategy:
Google search strategy: "snarky means"
Thanks for a fun question, Yesmam!