noun Archaic.

equipment; tackle.

Origin of tackling

late Middle English word dating back to 1375–1425; see origin at tackle, -ing1
Related formsun·tack·ling, adjective


[tak-uh l or for 2–4, tey-kuh l]


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), tack·led, tack·ling.

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), tack·led, tack·ling.

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 formstack·ler, nounre·tack·le, verb (used with object), re·tack·led, re·tack·ling.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tackling

Contemporary Examples of tackling

Historical Examples of tackling

  • He was tackling a delicate job—like juggling a car-load of dynamite.

  • Somehow it struck him that the law was hardly equal to tackling "that kind."

    Peak and Prairie

    Anna Fuller

  • There was no difficulty at all in coming to the subject at once, and tackling it.

  • And he rags me every day about my tackling and—and I don't think it's fair!

    Left End Edwards

    Ralph Henry Barbour

  • If Marvin isn't satisfied with your tackling, it's because you don't do it right.

    Left End Edwards

    Ralph Henry Barbour

British Dictionary definitions for tackling



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, etcfishing 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


(tr) to undertake (a task, problem, etc)
(tr) to confront (a person, esp an opponent) with a difficult proposition
sport (esp in football games) to challenge (an opponent) with a tackle
Derived Formstackler, noun

Word Origin for tackle

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

Word Origin and History for tackling



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.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper