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imaginary animal, coined 1876 by Lewis Carroll in "The Hunting of the Snark." In 1950s, name of a type of U.S. cruise missile and in 1980s of a type of sailboat. Meaning "caustic, opinionated, critical rhetoric" is from c.2002 (see snarky) and not directly related, if at all.
[Lewis Carroll, via the Michigan Terminal System] 1. A system failure. When a user's process bombed, the operator would get the message "Help, Help, Snark in MTS!"
2. More generally, any kind of unexplained or threatening event on a computer (especially if it might be a boojum). Often used to refer to an event or a log file entry that might indicate an attempted security violation. See snivitz.
3. UUCP name of snark.thyrsus.com, home site of the Hacker Jargon File versions 2.*.*.