- to bring together into a mass of confusedly interlaced or intertwisted threads, strands, or other like parts; snarl.
- to involve in something that hampers, obstructs, or overgrows: The bushes were tangled with vines.
- to catch and hold in or as if in a net or snare.
- to be or become tangled.
- Informal. to come into conflict; fight or argue: I don't want to tangle with him over the new ruling.
- a tangled condition or situation.
- a tangled or confused mass or assemblage of something.
- a confused jumble: a tangle of contradictory statements.
- Informal. a conflict; disagreement: He got into a tangle with the governor.
Origin of tangle1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for tangle on Thesaurus.com
- any of several large seaweeds of the genus Laminaria.
Origin of tangle2
Examples from the Web for tangle
The tangle of enormous fake diamonds resting on top of her cleavage sparkles at every flashbulb.And The Escort of The Year Is… Backstage at The Sex Oscars
March 24, 2014
Pettet threw his head back and laughed as he recounted his tangle with the police.Even an Arrest Can’t Stop Clayton Pettet From Losing His Virginity in an Art Show
December 12, 2013
Its solution—a tangle of suspicion that spreads from a police unit to local drug ring—is clever and well constructed.‘Low Winter Sun’ Might Be the New ‘Wire’
August 9, 2013
The tangle of groups, funders, and leaders in the black anti-immigration effort—as in the broader movement—can be hard to follow.The Shady Group Behind the African-American Anti-Immigration Rally
July 12, 2013
The bloodshed began at the end of the bridge amid a tangle of flyovers near the Egyptian Museum.Egypt’s Military Is Waiting for the Worst
Christopher Dickey, Mike Giglio
July 6, 2013
"It wasn't just a tangle, like combings," she went on slowly.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
He looked backward from the heights above the tangle after they had come through it.Louisiana Lou
William West Winter
It is a nest of greenery in the midst of a tangle of brushwood.Abbe Mouret's Transgression
What on earth could I do when affairs were in such a tangle?The Stark Munro Letters
J. Stark Munro
There was a tangle of undergrowth, and a heavy grove of palms.Things as They Are
- a confused or complicated mass of hairs, lines, fibres, etc, knotted or coiled together
- a complicated problem, condition, or situation
- to become or cause to become twisted together in a confused mass
- (intr often foll by with) to come into conflict; contendto tangle with the police
- (tr) to involve in matters which hinder or confuseto tangle someone in a shady deal
- (tr) to ensnare or trap, as in a net
- alternative names (esp Scot) for oarweed
Word Origin and History for tangle
mid-14c., nasalized variant of tagilen "to involve in a difficult situation, entangle," from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Swedish taggla "to disorder," Old Norse þongull "seaweed"). In reference to material things, from c.1500. Meaning "to fight with" is American English, first recorded 1928. Related: Tangled; tangling. Tanglefoot (1859) was Western American English slang for "strong whiskey."
1610s, "a tangled condition," from tangle (v.).