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

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

  1. to bring together into a mass of confusedly interlaced or intertwisted threads, strands, or other like parts; snarl.
  2. to involve in something that hampers, obstructs, or overgrows: The bushes were tangled with vines.
  3. to catch and hold in or as if in a net or snare.

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

  1. to be or become tangled.
  2. Informal. to come into conflict; fight or argue: I don’t want to tangle with him over the new ruling.


  1. a tangled condition or situation.
  2. a tangled or confused mass or assemblage of something.
  3. a confused jumble: a tangle of contradictory statements.
  4. Informal. a conflict; disagreement: He got into a tangle with the governor.


  1. a confused or complicated mass of hairs, lines, fibres, etc, knotted or coiled together
  2. a complicated problem, condition, or situation


  1. to become or cause to become twisted together in a confused mass
  2. (intr often foll by with) to come into conflict; contendto tangle with the police
  3. (tr) to involve in matters which hinder or confuseto tangle someone in a shady deal
  4. (tr) to ensnare or trap, as in a net


  1. alternative names (esp Scot) for oarweed

v.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.” n.1610s, “a tangled condition,” from tangle (v.).

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