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Civil Services



rugged and knotted

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gnarled - twisted

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Something ‘gnarled’ is rough and twisted, typically due to old age or prolonged exposure to bad weather. This term is most commonly used in relation to an old tree that is full of knots and lumps, and a person showing signs of their advanced age on their skin or in the shape of their body. It can also be used in a more figurative sense to refer to somebody who is considered a tough veteran of something.

Synonyms contorted
Antonyms malleable

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  1. The branches and trunk of the tree were all lumpy and gnarled. It was clear that it had been there for a very long time.

  2. That team are favourite to win the final because they are full of gnarled veterans who will not be overawed by the occasion.

  3. The old lady’s fingers are quite gnarled now, which makes it very difficult for her to play her piano.

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