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a word meaning a step above intense, it can be positive or negative.
dude this is a gnarley wave!

last night my girl and i hooked up, it was so gnarley.

dude1:he passed out in his own puke
dude2: ewww gnarley!
by andresbabii July 14, 2009
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Jan 20 Word of the Day
A deranged, poorly-planned attempt to seize power; particularly if an election does not turn out in your favor.
Disgraced attorney Rudy Giuliani’s face became drenched in sweat and hair dye as he invented evidence of widespread voter fraud during President Trump’s clown coup.
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by Peach_emoji December 13, 2020
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Contemporarily, "gnarley", as used in Hawaii, means: (1) rugged, difficult, burley; or (2)nasty, rank, disgusting. Quite different from the stereotypical-SoCal-surfer usage of the word.
(1) -Dude, that test was so frickin' gnarley!
-I know! I definitely got worked.

(2) -Somebody passed out in their own barf at that party last night.
-Awwww, gnarley!
by HI*Girl February 05, 2005
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Despite bastardization in recent years to the alternate (Read: "Gay") spelling, Narley, gnarley is akin to rad - a late-1980s - early-1990s term, meaning "exceptional", or "cool". Developed on the West Coast, and used primarily by sufers and skateboarders.
"Hey bra, d'dya scope that gnarley tide?"
"Tscha! That was a ripple, man!"
by Der Capitan January 14, 2004
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(Note: See other definitions for gnarley.)

Used to describe the level of extreme-ness of a given scenario/subject.

When viewed this way, it should easily clear up the common misconception that more recent usage deviates from the traditional Pacific/West Coast terminology.
(1): the skate park up the street sucks for rookies, but there's hella opportunity for experienced skaters to to do some really gnarley tricks.

(2): did you see that kid braggin' how he can do a 900° better than tony hawk? dude totally fucked up & tripped and fell off the top of the ramp before he even dropped in. it was fuckin' gnarley dude- the bone actually broke through the skin and stuck out of his arm when it snapped..there was blood everywhere, fuckin' unreal!
by TWiSTiDLiTTiLFUCK June 25, 2007
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A word that means 'rad' or 'awesome', commonly used by surfers, skateboarders or snowboarders.
"That was a gnarley stack you had out there today man"

"Those were some gnarley waves you rode today dude"

"That was some gnarley powder"
by Gnarley_Sister August 02, 2006
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1. awesome! 2. (a very recent defintion) bad, nasty, gross, etc.
for definition 2: Yeah, and he threw up all over. It was just gnarley, man.
by sayWHUTTE September 18, 2006
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