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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 of gnarled
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gnarled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I suggested, and leaned across to lay the pomander in his gnarled hand.

    The Thing from the Lake Eleanor M. Ingram
  • He had limbs of great length, and muscles like the gnarled heads of a beech.

  • But they had a look on their sunburned, gnarled, and honest faces which the Butlers and Johnsons might well have shrunk from.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • gnarled cedars, hanging precariously, might hide pixies and elves.

    The White Invaders Raymond King Cummings
  • His remarks were emphasized by the gestures of a huge and gnarled pair of hands.

    The Claim Jumpers Stewart Edward White
  • So that the more knotted and gnarled a log of mahogany is, the better.

    Forests of Maine Jacob S. Abbott
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
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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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