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gnarled

[nahrld] /nɑrld/
adjective
1.
(of trees) full of or covered with gnarls; bent; twisted.
2.
having a rugged, weather-beaten appearance:
a gnarled old sea captain.
3.
crabby; cantankerous.
Origin
1595-1605
1595-1605; variant of knurled
Related forms
ungnarled, adjective

gnarl1

[nahrl] /nɑrl/
noun
1.
a knotty protuberance on a tree; knot.
verb (used with object)
2.
to twist into a knotted or distorted form.
Origin
1805-15; back formation from gnarled
Synonyms
2. contort, distort.

gnarl2

[nahrl] /nɑrl/
verb (used without object)
1.
to growl; snarl.
Origin
1585-95; variant of gnar
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for gnarled
  • But in a certain context, the gnarled roots of an exposed stump can impress too.
  • During those flips, the Sun's deep magnetic field gets really gnarled.
  • The wind of the north has twisted and gnarled its branches.
  • His toenail had only just started growing back in and it was so ugly and gnarled looking.
  • Others resemble small trees, gnarled and twisted by the battering winds and fierce salt spray.
  • It is an ugly, gnarled ball with a nobbly skin.
  • There was new snow on the gnarled pines and more flakes falling.
  • As the vines age the trunk becomes thick, woody and gnarled.
  • Another is a dark curlicue as gnarled as a ram's horn.
  • The gnarled thorn seems a crooked hag.
British Dictionary definitions for gnarled

gnarled

/nɑːld/
adjective
1.
having gnarls
2.
(esp of hands) rough, twisted, and weather-beaten in appearance
3.
perverse or ill-tempered

gnarl1

/nɑːl/
noun
1.
any knotty protuberance or swelling on a tree
verb
2.
(transitive) to knot or cause to knot
Word Origin
C19: back formation from gnarled, probably variant of knurled; see knurl

gnarl2

/nɑːl/
verb
1.
(intransitive) (obsolete) to growl or snarl
Word Origin
C16: of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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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].

gnarl

v.

"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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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