Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

The Word of the Year is...

gnarly

[nahr-lee] /ˈnɑr li/
adjective, gnarlier, gnarliest.
1.
2.
Slang. distasteful; distressing; offensive; gross:
a comic noted for his gnarly humor.
Origin of gnarly
1820-1830
1820-30; gnarl1 + -y1
Related forms
gnarliness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for gnarliest
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye.

    Excursions and Poems Henry David Thoreau
British Dictionary definitions for gnarliest

gnarly

/ˈnɑːlɪ/
adjective
1.
another word for gnarled
2.
(NZ, informal) good; great
3.
(surfing, slang) difficult and dangerous
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for gnarliest

gnarly

adj.

1829, "knotted and rugged," from gnarl (see gnarled) + -y (2). Picked up 1970s as surfer slang to describe a dangerous wave; it had spread in teen slang by 1982, where it meant both "excellent" and "disgusting."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for gnarliest

gnarly

adjective

  1. Excellent; wonderful; cool, hairy, great: That girl is gnarly. She goes to every party there is
  2. Disgusting: So, when the halls became a little too gnarly for Principal Charles Lutgen/ ''Gnarly'' means disgusting

[1980s+ Teenagers; said to have originated among 1970s surfers, describing a dangerous wave; this sense persisted among skateboarders until at least 1988]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for gnarly

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for gnarliest

10
13
Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for gnarliest