Definition of gnarly in English:



  • 1Gnarled.

    • ‘Tucked away in the forest, and only accessible to those with local knowledge, its old contorted paperbark trees exhibited gnarly branches, trunks and burls.’
    • ‘But to me, the thing is mostly funny - and it was, after all, named after a Vaudeville comedian who used a wild-looking bent gnarly cane.’
    • ‘As I sipped, the waiter appeared at my elbow proudly showing off a plate on which two gnarly knots of truffle reposed.’
    • ‘He's a gnarly little old Aussi with a big voice who's done a lot of living and has the ballads to prove it.’
    • ‘Vaillancourt, sometimes described as the world's grandmaster of intuitive art, lives amid items ranging from abandoned industrial machinery to a gnarly tree stump he borrowed from Lafontaine Park after the ice storm.’
    • ‘They are small, dark, rough, and gnarly, with concentric growth rings.’
    • ‘But even in death the mangroves are unusual, becoming gnarly bits of modernistic art few sculptors call match.’
    • ‘Once again, I defer to Timothy Gowers and his masterful lecture, where he spells out in detail how research contributions can be twisted, gnarly things that are hard to linearize.’
    • ‘I planted myself in the rather aptly named Ghost Garden, next to ‘The Dancing Tree,’ a huge gnarly old rhododendron, all twists and loops.’
    • ‘The tree itself had been small and gnarly, withered and twisted like the arthritic seizure of an old man.’
    • ‘Maybe it's the swampy landscape littered with piles of gnarly kauri rescued from the deep wet soil and the knowledge that this timber once helped shape the country's colonial beginnings, but is no more.’
    • ‘OK, if a gnarly croc fought a Great White, who'd win?’
    • ‘It's better quality wood for pulp purposes, for making toilet paper or cardboard boxes, if you have a clean plantation wood, than if you have a gnarly beautiful tall old growth tree.’
    • ‘It has a rough, gnarly look around the edges, the native fescue changing color with the seasons.’
    knobbly, knotty, knotted, gnarly, lumpy, bumpy, nodular, rough
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  • 2North American informal Difficult, dangerous, or challenging.

    ‘he'd taken a fall during a particularly gnarly practice session’
    • ‘Grob was giddy as hell up there, because the gnarly floes offered a rare challenge to a jaded ice-breaker.’
    • ‘In the meantime, things will get gnarly here on Earth Island.’
    • ‘Right now, a charming brunette in baggy khakis is wrestling with a gnarly problem.’
    • ‘If you're kayaking and you can't ID that gnarly rock on your right and then quickly shift to the waterfall straight ahead, your system becomes disoriented and you might miss the safest line through Class V rapids.’
    • ‘The waitress who served you drinks the night before is probably the same person you'll see skiing a gnarly line the next day.’
    • ‘‘Parts of Scotland are fantastic, really hardcore, gnarly, dangerous,’ he enthuses, fidgeting as he seems to imagine himself negotiating a climb.’
    • ‘They know the Nerf ball is as essential to the office as a fax, that pizza, applied correctly, goes a long way toward solving gnarly creative problems, and that when inspiration is short, team paintball may be the answer.’
    • ‘La Sportiva is now making bouldering shoes with a Vibram rubber covering to assist with toe-hooking on gnarly problems.’
    • ‘This systems view is essential for effectively dealing with the web of gnarly problems that entangle nations and strain international relations.’
    • ‘If we're going to do well in the increasingly gnarly global economy we need to get started with reform of higher education now.’
    • ‘The two things you need to know about Steve Roche, are that he gets things done and he does bizarre gnarly and difficult tricks on a skateboard.’
    • ‘One of only a handful of female big-wave surfers, Gerhardt joined the ranks of some 50 men who conquered Mavericks' gnarly 25-foot waves.’
    • ‘It's almost as if it wants to shoulder some of the responsibility for the gnarly places it is taking you to.’
    • ‘Your guides will have familiarized themselves with the river from a floatplane 200 feet above, so exercise patience when they shepherd you to the bank while scouting gnarly rapids.’
    • ‘But it's almost too gnarly for people to really get into.’
    • ‘Hearts thumping, we slipped beneath the surface, anticipating a gnarly passage through silty twists and turns, with the blood roaring in our ears and pulses hammering.’
    dangerous, fraught with danger, hazardous, risky, unsafe, treacherous
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    1. 2.1Unpleasant or unattractive.
      ‘stations can be pretty gnarly places’
      • ‘Even more gnarly - your older crew badmouths, rips on or even physically threatens your younger girls.’
      • ‘OK, you probably think that whenever you've got a gnarly zit or your hair is frizz-city, everybody is as horrified as you are.’
      • ‘Oh, gentle reader, that would be the aforementioned Milo, screaming, held upside down with his head in the toilet receiving his twice monthly swirly from some gnarly looking bullies.’
      • ‘If an exquisite cantaloupe costs $20, why pay even more for the gnarly organic version?’
      • ‘I'll trade in my sandals, shorts and sunnies for a hip flask of brandy and a gnarly old jacket which can't quite keep the wind out.’
      • ‘Fifteen gnarly stitches later, Sandler was up and out of the hospital, but couldn't go in the water for the rest of the trip.’
      • ‘Paterson had a penchant for Woodbines and putting gnarly blood red nails into food mixes with scant regard for hygiene.’
      • ‘‘You're supposed to be gnarly rockers, you're not supposed to sing happy birthday’ he mocks, but secretly you know he's pleased.’
      • ‘Cramps, of course, can be uncomfortable and somewhat gnarly.’
      • ‘Beeswax melts at a higher temperature than something like paraffin and you could actually give yourself some gnarly blisters this way.’
      • ‘Another, who is in a five-year relationship, burns with embarrassment if she finds her feet sticking out of the covers when they're in bed together, because she thinks they're gnarly.’
      • ‘Yep, we have rolling blackouts, gnarly gas prices - over two bucks a gallon - and it's really not even sunny right now, either.’
      • ‘I've never seen someone so gnarly get so much attention from so many women.’
    2. 2.2Very good; excellent.
      ‘you're going to make some lucky guy a pretty gnarly wife’
      • ‘And this is why rock 'n' roll has suited him so well; a medium in which impulse prevails over perfection, where the right scattered images and gnarly chords can conjure whole worlds.’
      • ‘They alternate puerile lyrics and gnarly riffs with solemn songs about loss and longing.’
      • ‘Hence, I will not be blogging after work anymore but instead I shall carve up some gnarly waves with my posse of surfers on Sydney's northern beaches for the foreseeable future.’
      • ‘I came here to get drunk, smoke weed, and do some gnarly tonsil licking with hot foreign chicks and I'd ended up in this medieval snakepit.’
      • ‘It's questionable whether he's a great filmmaker or just a clever fanboy, but either way, he has an undeniable knack for making his obsessions seem pretty damn gnarly.’
      • ‘My friend Biella, a tireless EFF volunteer who's also finishing a PhD in anthropology, studying hacker culture, has posted a really gnarly paper that she presented at the Digital Genres conference.’
      • ‘I know this sounds pretty strange, but the rumor is out there and would be pretty gnarly if so.’
      • ‘Her ‘resort’ certainly lived up to its reputation as a gnarly, funky, retro, no-holds barred cult resort.’