Definition of gnarled in US English:



  • Knobbly, rough, and twisted, especially with age.

    ‘the gnarled old oak tree’
    • ‘There was a picture in the paper I was reading of an old black woman, gnarled as an olive tree.’
    • ‘She held out her gnarled hands, as twisted and brown as the galls of a walnut tree.’
    • ‘The trunk of the silver birch has always been too bent and gnarled for commercial use.’
    • ‘A gnarled old man is standing on the terracotta balcony of his home.’
    • ‘I followed them for at least a dozen meters before they ended at the foot of a gnarled old oak, the massive boughs wearing snow and ice.’
    • ‘I dreamt that we were old, really old, and we were walking with my gnarled old hand in yours.’
    • ‘The old gnarled trees of the forest grew up to the edge of another bank, their roots jutting out into the deep water.’
    • ‘Donovan reached out and grasped the old woman's gnarled hand.’
    • ‘Her sister came away from the counter and sat down at one of the rough, gnarled chairs at the table.’
    • ‘They were old, and they were tall, crooked and gnarled from weather and from time.’
    • ‘Imagine feeling a little bored while you're sketching a gnarled old boot in your art class.’
    • ‘The wind howled in an unearthly never-ending scream, whistling through the gnarled, twisted trees.’
    • ‘The legs were gnarled and twisted, the left one bent at a crazy angle making the beast tip to one side slightly.’
    • ‘The rough surface and the gnarled features have become the distinctive marks of his works.’
    • ‘The gnarled brown trees twisted into the earth and entwined each other in thick embraces.’
    • ‘From the tiny baby to the gnarled old man, the reward for living is the same: death.’
    • ‘The disciples have gnarled hands, rough faces with the grime and sweat of an arduous day at their fishing nets.’
    • ‘She placated him, smoothing down his shoulder length hair with her rough and gnarled hands.’
    • ‘He can make a haunting face peer from the gnarled old trunk of a great oak or fashion an oversized stag beetle from a lime tree.’
    • ‘Renowned for its longevity, a gnarled, twisted olive tree can bear fruit for several hundred years.’
    knobbly, knotty, knotted, gnarly, lumpy, bumpy, nodular, rough
    twisted, bent, arthritic, misshapen
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Early 17th century: variant of knarled, from knar.