Narp: noun, acronym.

General Denotation: NARP is an acronym of “non-athletic regular person,” used to describe someone who does not participate in sports.

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Etymology: While the exact origins of this word are unclear, it first appeared on urban dictionary in January of 2010, while my interviewees either had not heard of the word, or had seen it recently in the following post on Facebook.

IMG_0916-1┬áSociolectal information: Most of the people interviewed seemed to think this word has negative connotations, used by athletes to target those who don’t do sports. It is, however, often used either jokingly or ironically, to convey disdain for athletes who might be viewed as arrogant.

Survival Predictions: While the interviewees were almost certain that the word ‘narp’ would not be around for long because of its derogatory nature, I think that “jocks v. geeks” sentiment behind the word has been around for long enough that it might be able to survive. If it does survive, I imagine there will be a new word with a similar meaning or connotation that takes its place.

Lexopinions: While the connotation behind the word is derogatory, I think it’s a catchy word, and harmless enough if used ironically. I personally might use this word as a sarcastic or cynical way to identify myself (or jokingly, my friends).


  1. I have never heard of this word before. I can see how it can be used derogatorily, but personally I would use it jokingly. It sounds funny and discourages serious usage. It is definitely possible that some people would be offended by it or misinterpret how it is being used. It seems like there is some controversy to how this word is used. I like that it considers non athletes to be normal people because it seems like the majority of people play sports. I am hearing a lot about IM sports recently and I have noticed that a lot more people are into sports than I thought. This word basically says that its normal (regular) to not be athletically gifted. To me at least, it is very accepting of nonathletic people and isn’t derogatory. I can also see how it is used in other contexts. In schools with a higher athlete population, athletes may use this word to isolate others, saying they’re superior to NARPs. Conversely, it can also distinguish people who have gotten into college because of academic merit. It can be used by students to say that athletes are not smart enough to get into a particular college without playing sports. lt is really hard to see these different perspectives of the word at first glance. It is important to know the context and the different ways it may be used to avoid misinterpretation. Since I haven’t heard of this at all, I am going to assume that it will not survive for very long although it may suddenly become a buzzword. I might use this among my friends for fun because I think it’s a good word to be used jokingly and even affectionately with people you are very close with.

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