- snarled, interlaced, or mixed up: tangled thread.
- very complicated, intricate, or involved: tangled bureaucratic procedures.
Origin of tangled
- 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
Examples from the Web for tangled
The relationships, and motivations of their chief participants, are as tangled and shady as you expect of the super-rich.The Real-Life ‘Downton’ Millionairesses Who Changed Britain
December 31, 2014
He acquired $1 billion worth of art and tangled scandalously with the authorities.The Mysterious Death of the Art World’s Favorite Sheikh
November 13, 2014
The drain clogs in the shower every few days, and the clump of tangled brown hair is springy between my fingers.Birth Control Made My Hair Fall Out, and I’m Not the Only One
October 14, 2014
Palmer is, of course, just as tangled up, as human, as everybody else--and he knows it.Will the Real Jim Palmer Please Stand Up
September 27, 2014
What astonishment that such beauty urges me into bed for a nightlong sweaty roll in tangled sheets.Our Doomed Love Affair with Summer
P. J. O’Rourke
August 30, 2014
"Aaron Goldschmidt," he whispered, as we descended into a dry, tangled swamp.The Cavalier
George Washington Cable
The last I saw of the trenches was the tangled line on Fusilier Bluff.With Manchesters in the East
Gerald B. Hurst
If he hadn't been tangled up in his cod line, so we could haul him up by that, he'd have been down yet.Cape Cod Stories
Joseph C. Lincoln
It is unnecessary to repeat the whole of the long and tangled conversation that ensued.Cap'n Eri
Joseph Crosby Lincoln
My life has been one long error, and the threads of my fate have been tangled.A Son of Hagar
Sir Hall Caine
- 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 tangled
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.).