Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nark v.1

[nark n.1 ]

1. to watch, to survey, to notice.

[UK]Worcester Herald 26 Dec. 4/3: I narks you, or, he narks you, I understand you, or, he’s up to you.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 67: nark to watch, or look after; ‘nark the titter,’ watch the girl.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 25 Nov. 6/5: In the first place I’ll nark the leer.
[UK]A. Day Mysterious Beggar 264: If you’re a bit skeery, then ’till the thing’s well coppered, you can nark ’round on the sly.
[Aus]Truth (Perth) 19 Oct. 4/6: Why sing of the bull-ant who narks our caress / When we’re smoodging with Sal at the seaside?
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 257: You narked that bloke in the stinkpot?

2. to inform to the police.

[UK]A. Morrison Child of the Jago (1982) 69: It was the sole commandment that ran there: ‘Thou shalt not nark’.
[UK]T. Burke Limehouse Nights 233: After fifteen years of narking he finds he is getting stale [...] the slops no longer trust him.
[UK]Framlingham Wkly News 8 Dec. 3/7: Thieves’ Dialect [...] To ‘nark,’ the darkest crime in the thieves’ decalogue, is to lodge an information against a confederate.
[UK]S. Jackson An Indiscreet Guide to Soho 32: It is easy enough to talk to anybody in Soho once people are sure that you are not [...] narking for the police.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 98: They’d nark on their own mother, some people.
[UK]B. Reckord Skyvers I ii: Some geezer might have narked [...] and it’s a stretch in store for them.

3. to betray someone; to inform upon.

[UK]A. Morrison Child of the Jago (1982) 183: Old Weech narked ye? ’Owjer know that?
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 260: He’s surrounded by a army o’ go-betweens and footwipes and cats-paws as can no more break away or nark ’n what a lame ladybird can get off a wheel by running up the tyre as it goes around.
[UK]E. Blair ‘Clink’ Aug. in Complete Works X (1998) 259: I was narked — narked by my own sister! Yes, my own fucking sister.
[SA]H. Levin Bandiet 121: The authorities maintained control very largely through narks and narking.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 178: The worst thing a person in jail can do is nark on a fellow prisoner.

4. (mainly Aus./N.Z.) to annoy, to irritate.

J. Dalby Mayroyd of Mytholm II 45: ‘That’s just what he’s ta’en to him for,’ said the landlady – ‘just to nark Mayroyd.’.
[UK] ‘Fanny Flukem’s Ball’ in Bird o’ Freedom (Sydney) in J. Murray Larrikins (1973) 40: I’m a cut above such jigs as that; / For spare me days, I am, / But it narks a bloomin’ girl to see / Such trollops put on jam.
[Aus]Dubbo Liberal (NSW) 17 June 3/3: This has ‘narked’ the writers sore.
[Aus]W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 2 Mar. 1/1: A ‘lydy’ who saw ‘just cause and impediment’ tured up an hour too late to nark the nuptials.
[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 24: I could see I’d narked ’er.
[Aus]Aussie (France) XII Mar. 1/2: One night our Company Commander chose an unfortunate combination that greatly narked the C.O.
[US]Capricorn (Rockhampton, Qld) 20 Dec. 19/1: If i thought it would nark my people [...] I’d marry her twice.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 482: You did it just to nark me for what I said last week.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 304: I’d probably live to a hundred and nark the bloody lot of ’em.
[Aus]R.H. Conquest Horses in Kitchen 214: Even though I might nark McMulga by saying so, I really enjoyed that trip out to the oil country.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 14 Feb. 20: What narks me [...] is the shallowness of the thinking behind it.

5. to complain, to nag.

[UK]K. Mackenzie Living Rough 169: Ach, stop your bloody narking.
[UK]P. Boyle All Looks Yellow to the Jaundiced Eye 109: She narked at me continuously.
[UK]A. Bleasdale Scully 160: I hear them narking at each other in the hallway.
[Ire](con. c.1920) P. Crosbie Your Dinner’s Poured Out! 112: She’s a different sort of woman, / And doesn’t try to nark.
[Ire]P. McCabe Breakfast on Pluto 32: Never once did I have to nag or nark.

In compounds

narking dues (n.)

an arrest made on the evidence of an informer.

[UK]A. Morrison Child of the Jago (1982) 162: ‘I bin put away this time — fair put away.’ ‘Wot?’ answered Bill. ‘Narkin’ dues is it?’ Josh nodded.

In phrases

nark the lurk (v.) (also nark the game)

(Aus. Und.) to betray a plan.

[Aus]Register (Adelaide) 13 July 4/6: All I’m afraid of is that some Melbourne cove will get on to our lurk and come across to nark the game.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson Shearer’s Colt 11: ‘Nothing doing with the red bloke, his trainer came up and narked the lurk,’ meaning thereby that their intended victim had been warned of the plot against him.