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.
- 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
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.).