adjective, gnarl·i·er, gnarl·i·est.
Examples from the Web for gnarly
A helicopter hovered overhead, catching every second of the gnarly ride.
Work, especially, sees you getting kinks out of gnarly systems and operations.
Charred palm trees loomed over the road like gnarly fingers up through the ground.
The individual thus addressed slowly rose out of his chair, exhibiting a squat, gnarly figure surmounted by a very large head.The Clarion|Samuel Hopkins Adams
The latter had been shaved and smoothed over every gnarly place.The Girls of Central High Aiding the Red Cross|Gertrude W. Morrison
Her neck, far too liberally exhibited, resembled nothing so much as the stem of an ill-conditioned, gnarly young olive tree.The British Expedition to the Crimea|William Howard Russell
If the horn is not cut close enough to the head, an irregular, gnarly growth of horn is liable to follow.Special Report on Diseases of Cattle|U.S. Department of Agriculture
Back of it opened a hillside brown with dead ferns, dotted with great solitary firs and gnarly branched arbutus.Poor Man's Rock|Bertrand W. Sinclair
British Dictionary definitions for gnarly
Word Origin and History for gnarly
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."