Monday, July 20, 2009

Where Does 'Snark' Get Its Portmanteau-ishness?

Is a snark

a snake + shark combo
or

a snide + remark combo?


According to yourdictionary.com a snark is -
"An imaginary animal created by Lewis Carroll in his poem 'The Hunting of the Snark'"
According to Urban Dictionary a snark is -
"A combination of "snide" and "remark". Sarcastic comment(s)."

I have to believe that the predominant usage of the word snark in this day and age of blogging refers to the latter.

4 comments:

Erin Davis said...

I agree. The latter seems closer to the mark.

Stan said...

The Urban Dictionary definition may be back-formed from "snarky", which in turn derives from the verb "snark" (OED: find fault (with), nag. L19). I suspect that the "snide" + "remark" => "snark" formula, though imaginative, is misguided. But I'm open to persuasion!

By the way, you have a stray apostrophe in the post title.

Wordacious said...

Stan - Thank you for your informative comment. I fully agree with your back-formation thoughts, I was mainly commenting on the popular and current usage of the word.

P.S. Thank you for catching my stray. I have been on vacation too long. My fingers may be typing but my brain is on the dock enjoying a cocktail.

Stan said...

You're very welcome. I hope you had lovely holiday!

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