gnarled [nahrld] SynonymsExamplesWord Originadjective
- (of trees) full of or covered with gnarls; bent; twisted.
- having a rugged, weather-beaten appearance: a gnarled old sea captain.
- crabby; cantankerous.
Origin of gnarled First recorded in 1595–1605; variant of knurled Related formsun·gnarled, adjective gnarl 1[nahrl] noun
- a knotty protuberance on a tree; knot.
verb (used with object)
- to twist into a knotted or distorted form.
- to growl; snarl.
Origin of gnarl 2First recorded in 1585–95; variant of gnar Related Words for gnarled gnarly, deformed, twisted, crooked, contorted, wrinkled, rough, bent, distorted, tortured, knurled, leathery, rugged, weather-beaten Examples from the Web for gnarled Contemporary Examples of gnarled
I was taken into one by Maurice, a gnarled old Vietnam vet in a wooly hat.
November 10, 2014
Hard-caught game gets something feral and gnarled—Côte-Rôtie or a leathery Hermitage.
March 26, 2014
The knots were so plentiful that the thread stood up like a gnarled flagpole.
Dr. Abraham Verghese
February 11, 2009
The young who are not gnarled and knocked around by the old fights are tired of the overtones of special pleading.
November 18, 2008
Historical Examples of gnarled
He had limbs of great length, and muscles like the gnarled heads of a beech.
Gnarled cedars, hanging precariously, might hide pixies and elves.
Raymond King Cummings
So that the more knotted and gnarled a log of mahogany is, the better.
Jacob S. Abbott
She got up out of the hay, and put out a gnarled brown hand for it.
Even from the path he saw extending from the heap an arm, a gnarled hand.
British Dictionary definitions for gnarled gnarled adjective
- having gnarls
- (esp of hands) rough, twisted, and weather-beaten in appearance
- perverse or ill-tempered
gnarl 1 noun
- any knotty protuberance or swelling on a tree
- (tr) to knot or cause to knot
Word Origin for gnarl C19: back formation from gnarled, probably variant of knurled; see knurl gnarl 2 gnar (nɑː) verb
- (intr) obsolete to growl or snarl
Word Origin for gnarl C16: of imitative origin Word Origin and History for gnarled adj.
the source of the group of words that includes gnarl (v.), gnarl (n.), gnarly is Shakespeare’s use of gnarled in 1603:
Thy sharpe and sulpherous bolt Splits the vn-wedgable and gnarled Oke. [“Measure for Measure,” II.ii.116]
OED and Barnhart call it a variant of knurled, from Middle English knar “knot in wood” (late 14c.), originally “a rock, a stone;” of uncertain origin. “(Gnarled) occurs in one passage of Shakes. (for which the sole authority is the folio of 1623), whence it came into general use in the nineteenth century” [OED].
“contort, twist,” 1814, a back-formation from gnarled. As a noun from 1824. Earlier the verb was used in a sense of “to snarl” (1590s).