The term "gnarly," which is often misspelled as "narly," typically describes something difficult, challenging, or complicated. However, people also use it to express admiration for extreme or impressive feats. Surfers and skateboarders have popularized the term in recent years, although its roots go back to an older, less glamorous meaning.
"Gnarly" means something difficult, challenging, or impressive, often used in the context of extreme sports or situations.
The idiom "gnarly" has two primary meanings. It can refer to something that is challenging, difficult, or complicated, often used to describe obstacles or situations that require skill or determination to overcome. Alternatively, "gnarly" can also be used to express admiration for something that is extreme, impressive, or awe-inspiring. The term is commonly associated with surfers and skateboarders but has since spread to a broader audience.
The origin of "gnarly" can be traced back to the 19th century, when it was used to describe something knotted, twisted, or rough, often in reference to trees or wood. The word "gnarly" is derived from the Middle English word 'knarred,' meaning "a knot or lump in wood."
"If the wood be hard, and knotty, and gnarly, the teeth must be filed for chipping or removing the sawdust."
—The Young Farmer's Manual, 1860
"They cannot be too gnarly and crabbed and rusty to look at. The gnarliest will have some redeeming traits even to the eye."
—The Atlantic Monthly, Vol 10, 1862
The slang term "gnarly" originated in the 1970s surfing culture to describe dangerous or challenging waves and gained popularity as surfing itself became more widespread. By the 1980s, the term expanded beyond the surfing community and was adopted by youth culture to describe various situations, conveying both "excellent" and "disgusting" connotations.
Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:
"Gnarly" has made its way into various aspects of pop culture, including movies, television, and music. The idiom is often used to describe impressive feats, particularly in the world of extreme sports, but it has also become a colloquial expression of approval or admiration.
There are several alternative expressions that can be used to convey a similar meaning to "gnarly."
These can be used interchangeably to describe something difficult, challenging, or impressive:
It means something difficult, challenging, or impressive, often used in the context of extreme sports or situations.
The term originates from the 18th century, when it was used to describe something knotted or rough, like wood. It later became popular among surfers and skateboarders to describe difficult or impressive feats.
'Gnarly' can be used to describe a challenging situation, like a difficult obstacle course or a complex math problem, or to express admiration for something impressive, like a skilled skateboard trick.
Yes, 'gnarly' can be used as a compliment to describe something that is impressive or awe-inspiring, such as an incredible athletic feat or a fantastic performance.
Although its popularity may have peaked in the 1980s and 1990s, 'gnarly' is still used today, particularly in the context of extreme sports and other impressive feats.
Some synonyms for 'gnarly' include intense, tough, extreme, awesome, and radical.
'Gnarly' is derived from the Middle English word 'knarre,' which means "a knot or lump in wood."
While 'gnarly' is typically used to describe situations or actions, it can be used to describe a person's character or abilities, particularly if they are skilled or adept at overcoming challenges or performing impressive feats.
'Gnarly' has appeared in movies, television, and music, often used to describe impressive feats in extreme sports or as a colloquial expression of approval or admiration.
Yes, 'gnarly' is considered an informal term and is more commonly used in casual conversations, rather than in formal writing or speech.
"Gnarly" is an idiom that can be used to describe something difficult, challenging, or impressive, often in the context of extreme sports or situations. Originally referring to something knotted or rough, the term has since evolved to take on a more modern meaning, thanks in part to its popularity among surfers and skateboarders.
Key aspects of the term:
The term serves as a testament to the evolving nature of language, having transitioned from a descriptor for knotted wood to a colloquialism expressing admiration for high-risk, high-reward scenarios.