Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having gnarls; knotty or misshapen: gnarled branches.
  • adj. Morose or peevish; crabbed.
  • adj. Rugged and roughened, as from old age or work: the gnarled hands of a carpenter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. knotty and misshapen
  • adj. made rough by age or hard work
  • v. Simple past tense and past participle of gnarl. (Etymology 1)
  • v. Simple past tense and past participle of gnarl. (Etymology 2)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Knotty; full of knots or gnarls; twisted; crossgrained.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Full of gnarls or rough knots; gnarly.
  • Hence Cross-grained; perverse.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. used of old persons or old trees; covered with knobs or knots

Etymologies

Probably variant of knarled, from knarl, tangle, knot, alteration of Middle English knarre, knot in wood; see knar.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested Shakespeare 1603: (Wiktionary)
See gnarl (Etymology 2) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • What kind of gnarled soul must one have not to crack a smile at the sight of a world-renowned Oscar winner belting out "Dancing Queen" in overalls?

    How soon can I reserve my tickets for a singalong screening of 'Mamma Mia!'? | EW.com

  • The perpetual inversions, the habitual irony, the mingled tenderness and mockery, give a kind of gnarled surface to the style, which is pleasant when you get familiar with it, but which repels the stranger, and to some people even remains permanently disagreeable.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 01, No. 01, November, 1857 A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics

  • Mr. Percy FitzGerald, on visiting it some years ago, ventured to seek of the "gnarled" waiter information on the momentous question of Mr. Pickwick and his adventure.

    The Inns and Taverns of "Pickwick"; with Some Observations on Their Other Associations,

  • She was hoping that Dan would never grow "gnarled" towards herself, longing for him to speak and promise that he would not, but he still remained silent, and presently the door burst open, the rinking party appeared on the threshold, and the opportunity for quiet conclave was over.

    A College Girl

  • If you're looking to bring the outdoors in, mix materials such as gnarled wood (as seen in their barley twist twin beds).

    ajc.com - News

  • In a devastatingly detailed piece of testimony, which probably sealed victory for the TV company, Shaw admitted that she couldn't see their faces, but identified Terre'Blanche from his huge white bottom, which rose and fell between Allan's recognisably "gnarled" toes.

    IOL: News

  • However, if you're hoping that Betty White mania has faded completely-and, seriously, what kind of gnarled, coal-like heart have you got, anyway?!

    E! Online (US) - Top Stories

  • In a devastatingly detailed piece of testimony which probably sealed victory for the TV company Shaw admitted that she couldn't see their faces, but identified Terreblanche from his huge white bottom, which rose and fell between Allan's recognisably 'gnarled' toes.

    Home | Mail Online

  • What kind of gnarled soul must one have not to crack a smile at the sight of a world-renowned Oscar winner belting out

    Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch

  • I read it with amazement, unaware that the grandmother who wore aprons over her house dresses, the woman whose hands were gnarled and worn with years of toil, had once shared my dream.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandmothers

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.