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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
First recorded in 1820-30; gnarl1 + -y1
Related forms
gnarliness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for gnarly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • “The gnarly trees, their twisted branches”—recommenced the top boy.

    Three Men on the Bummel Jerome K. Jerome
  • The latter had been shaved and smoothed over every gnarly place.

  • The chance apple tree beside the road, with fruit too gnarly to eat, is common on roadsides throughout New England.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • In front stands the old brown anvil set upon a gnarly maple block.

    Adventures In Friendship David Grayson
  • They were twisted and gnarly, and with scarcely the semblance of the full meaty calf such as graces your leg and mine.

    Before Adam Jack London
  • And as he peers he crooks one monstrous leg and with his gnarly toes scratches himself on the stomach.

    Before Adam Jack London
  • He was tall and gnarly and the point of his chin rested stiffly on the slope of his shoulder.

    Shadow Mountain Dane Coolidge
British Dictionary definitions for gnarly

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
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Word Origin and History for 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
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Slang definitions & phrases for gnarly

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.
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10
12
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