Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. Gnarled; misshapen.
2. Slang
a. Characterized by violent motion; powerful or turbulent: gnarly waves.
b. Unpleasant or difficult.
c. Remarkable; outstanding.


adj, gnarlier or gnarliest
1. another word for gnarled
2. informal NZ good; great
3. (Swimming, Water Sports & Surfing) surfing slang difficult and dangerous


(ˈnɑr li)

adj. gnarl•i•er, gnarl•i•est.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.gnarly - used of old persons or old trees; covered with knobs or knots; "gnarled and knotted hands"; "a knobbed stick"
crooked - having or marked by bends or angles; not straight or aligned; "crooked country roads"; "crooked teeth"
References in classic literature ?
Out of one window I can see the garden, those mysterious deepshaded arbors, the riotous old-fashioned flowers, and bushes and gnarly trees.
They were twisted and gnarly, and with scarcely the semblance of the full meaty calf such as graces your leg and mine.
On the Gnarly sponsorship, Alex said, “Being a part of the Gnarly Team means being a part of an elite group of core athletes wanting to take their performances to the next level.
Could she perhaps have been trying - in vain as it turned out - to hide those gnarly old mitts?
I have created Gnarly to be able to share this as well as other pleasurable experiences with kindred souls, who demand nothing but the extraordinary.
These trees grow with a gnarly grain pattern and many limbs, a response to the harsh environment of the southeastern coast.
Although on much steadier ground than in recent years, the EMS business is still contending with a gnarly environment, indeed.
The rocky reefs that create gnarly waves could yield a solution to coastal erosion for both sunbathers: and surfers.
That's because they rely on the difficulty of gnarly calculations that may someday succumb to faster computers, scientists say.
The tee shot is uphill to a fairway plateau, and players must hit an accurate wood or long iron down a narrow fairway guarded by gnarly rough on the right and the Atlantic Ocean on the left to position themselves properly for a third shot to a new, elevated green.
We grow lovely berries, not the gnarly little things with worm holes I had expected.
But before he can make it to the altar, he winds up inadvertently hitched to a gnarly ghouly-girl.