[tang-guh ld]


snarled, interlaced, or mixed up: tangled thread.
very complicated, intricate, or involved: tangled bureaucratic procedures.

Nearby words

  1. tangier disease,
  2. tangier zone,
  3. tangka,
  4. tangle,
  5. tangleberry,
  6. tanglewood,
  7. tango,
  8. tangor,
  9. tangoreceptor,
  10. tangram

Origin of tangled

First recorded in 1580–90; tangle1 + -ed2



verb (used with object), tan·gled, tan·gling.

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.

verb (used without object), tan·gled, tan·gling.

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 tangle

1300–50; Middle English tangilen, tagilen to entangle < Scandinavian; compare Swedish (dial.) taggla to disarrange

Related formstan·gle·ment, nountan·gler, nountan·gly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tangled

British Dictionary definitions for tangled




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
Derived Formstanglement, nountangler, nountangly, adjective

Word Origin for tangle

C14 tangilen, variant of tagilen, probably of Scandinavian origin; related to Swedish dialect taggla to entangle



tangle weed


alternative names (esp Scot) for oarweed

Word Origin for tangle

C16: of Scandinavian origin: compare Danish tang seaweed

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 tangled
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper