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tie into knots

Confuse, upset, or bewilder, as in He tied himself into knots when he tried to explain how the engine works. This metaphoric idiom transfers a knotted tangle to mental confusion. [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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