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intransigent vs gnarled

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Annakrutitskaya, Jun 10, 2014.

  1. Annakrutitskaya Senior Member

    Russian
    Hello!

    'Gnarled' and 'intransigent': these are two words which are similar in one of their meanings - 'uncompromising; faultfinding' (close to these two words).

    Can they be interchangeable, i.e. used in the same context without altering the meaning or do they have different 'tinge' ('hue')? Or does 'gnarled' in this meaning can be used only in regard to elderly people?

    The gnarled maverick outpolls his party and might even beat Barack Obama (The Economist)

    The intransigent maverick outpolls his party and might even beat Barack Obama

    Cameron and Clegg have changed Britain - not even the most intransigent critic can deny this (Gulfnews)

    Cameron and Clegg have changed Britain - not even the most gnarled critic can deny this

    Thank you!
     
  2. Glenfarclas Senior Member

    Chicago
    English (American)
    I'm not sure where you found that definition for "gnarled," but that's not the normal definition at all. "Gnarled" means "Covered with protuberances; distorted, twisted; rugged, knotted" (as a tree). By extension, in some cases, it can mean "old and weathered" in a metaphorical sense, as might be applied to a person (the sense is still pretty much one of ugliness), but it has nothing to do with intransigence. Old people often are intransigent, it's true, but that's coincidental.
     
  3. Annakrutitskaya Senior Member

    Russian
    Dear Glanfarclas,
    Thank you very much for this clarification - it's very helpful :)
     

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