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untangle

[uhn-tang-guh l]
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verb (used with object), un·tan·gled, un·tan·gling.
  1. to bring out of a tangled state; disentangle; unsnarl.
  2. to straighten out or clear up (anything confused or perplexing).
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Origin of untangle

First recorded in 1540–50; un-2 + tangle1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for untangle

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Your philosophy may be a trifle mixed, but it will untangle itself later on.

  • Sally Ann never failed to locate the trouble or to untangle the yarn.

  • A cup of chocolate, served by Gothon, helped not a little to untangle his ideas.

  • I have been spending all the afternoon getting on to the phone to Paris to untangle the muddle.

    The Man Who Knew

    Edgar Wallace

  • Those who were actually laboring to untangle the ropes only increased the snarl.

    Down the Rhine

    Oliver Optic


British Dictionary definitions for untangle

untangle

verb (tr)
  1. to free from a tangled condition
  2. to free from perplexity or confusion
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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 untangle

v.

1540s, from un- (2) + tangle. Related: Untangled; untangling.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper