Green’s Dictionary of Slang

narrowback n.

[? their stereotyped physique or Ulster dial. narrow, mean, miserly]

1. a supporter of political reform.

[US](con. 1890s) C.W. Willemse Cop Remembers 82–3: The new men [police recruits] were called ‘Goo-Goos’ or if they were American born, a rare thing in those early days, they were known as ‘Narrow-backs’.

2. (US) an Irish person, esp. a second-generation immigrant.

[US]N.Y. Times 29 Sept. X3: William Joseph Patrick (Pat) O’Brien, a Milwaukee-born Irishman or narrowback [OED].
Pubs. of Amer. Dialect Society XLII n.p.: Irish informants use [...] narrowback for a second generation Irishman who has neither the need, the desire nor the physical equipment to do the work his father had to do .

3. (US) a Protestant.

[US]in DARE.

4. (Irish) an immigrant who returns from the US to live in Ireland.

[Ire]Share Slanguage.