truly the catch all adjective of Southern California.  i hear it constantly and un-ironically in serious, adult conversation by people of all ages.  before my arrival i heard it exclusively on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (original cartoon.  don’t get me started on the subsequent movies) and Saved by the Bell.   thus, i only use it in jest and enjoy tacking it on at the end of a description (“some might even say it’s ‘gnarly’”).  but maybe i’m missing out. 

since i keep track of important life events here’s what i've heard “gnarly” used to describe thus far:

  • gum surgery.  yoga teacher, early 40s.  “i checked this morning and it’s pretty gnarly in there.  so i’m just juicing.”
  • an apple fritter.  a date, early 30s.  (one date only, FYI)
  • traffic.  different yoga teacher, 40s
  • a nephew’s boss.  random lady, 50s.  “he got the gnarliest one”
  • strep throat.  random girl, 20s.
  • the subconscious.  astrologer, 30s.  “it’s gnarly down there!”

i mean…is it me?