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[tak-uh l or for 2–4, tey-kuh l] /ˈtæk əl or for 2–4, ˈteɪ kəl/
equipment, apparatus, or gear, especially for fishing:
fishing tackle.
a mechanism or apparatus, as a rope and block or a combination of ropes and blocks, for hoisting, lowering, and shifting objects or materials; purchase.
any system of leverage using several pulleys.
Nautical. the gear and running rigging for handling a ship or performing some task on a ship.
an act of tackling, as in football; a seizing, grasping, or bringing down.
  1. either of the linemen stationed between a guard and an end.
  2. the position played by this lineman.
(formerly) tack1 (def 8).
verb (used with object), tackled, tackling.
to undertake to handle, master, solve, etc.:
to tackle a difficult problem.
to deal with (a person) on some problem, issue, etc.
to harness (a horse).
Football. to seize, stop, or throw down (a ball-carrier).
Soccer, Field Hockey. to block or impede the movement or progress of (an opponent having the ball) with the result of depriving the opponent of the ball.
to seize suddenly, especially in order to stop.
verb (used without object), tackled, tackling.
Football. to tackle an opponent having the ball.
Origin of tackle
1200-50; Middle English takel gear, apparatus < Middle Low German; akin to take
Related forms
tackler, noun
retackle, verb (used with object), retackled, retackling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tackle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • tackle and Lure—The albacore will take almost any lure from a sardine to a white rag.

  • I've a letter of my own to read, so tackle yours while we walk along.

    Stanford Stories Charles K. Field
  • He had broken the creams to harness, and always drove them, for the Old Man found them more than he cared to tackle.

    Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower
  • The next moment Mayo heard the ripping of tackle and a crash.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • The world seemed suddenly quite good,—the simplest, easiest of objects to tackle.

    Christopher and Columbus Countess Elizabeth Von Arnim
British Dictionary definitions for tackle


/ˈtækəl; often nautical ˈteɪkəl/
any mechanical system for lifting or pulling, esp an arrangement of ropes and pulleys designed to lift heavy weights
the equipment required for a particular occupation, etc: fishing tackle
(nautical) the halyards and other running rigging aboard a vessel
(slang) a man's genitals
(sport) a physical challenge to an opponent, as to prevent his progress with the ball
(American football) a defensive lineman
(transitive) to undertake (a task, problem, etc)
(transitive) to confront (a person, esp an opponent) with a difficult proposition
(sport) (esp in football games) to challenge (an opponent) with a tackle
Derived Forms
tackler, noun
Word Origin
C13: related to Middle Low German takel ship's rigging, Middle Dutch taken to take
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tackle

mid-13c., "apparatus, gear," from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German takel "the rigging of a ship," perhaps related to Middle Dutch taken "grasp, seize" (see take (v.)), or perhaps from root of tack (n.1). Meaning "apparatus for fishing" is recorded from late 14c. The noun meaning "act of tackling" in the sporting sense is recorded from 1876 (see tackle (v.)); as the name of a position in North American football, it is recorded from 1884.


mid-14c., "entangle, involve," from tackle (n.). Sense of "to furnish (a ship) with tackles" is from c.1400; meaning "to harness a horse" is recorded from 1714. The meaning "lay hold of, come to grips with, attack" is attested from 1828, described by Webster that year as "a common popular use of the word in New England, though not elegant;" figurative sense of "try to deal with" (a task or problem) is from 1840. The verb in the sporting sense first recorded 1867. Related: Tackled; tackling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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