tangle

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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English[edit]

English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈtæŋ.ɡəl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æŋɡəl

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English tanglen, probably of North Germanic origin, compare Swedish taggla (to disorder), Old Norse þǫngull, þang (tangle; seaweed), see Etymology 2 below.

Verb[edit]

tangle (third-person singular simple present tangles, present participle tangling, simple past and past participle tangled)

  1. (intransitive) to become mixed together or intertwined
    Her hair was tangled from a day in the wind.
  2. (intransitive) to enter into an argument, conflict, dispute, or fight
    Don't tangle with someone three times your size.
    He tangled with the law.
  3. (transitive) to mix together or intertwine
  4. (transitive) to catch and hold; to ensnare.
    • Milton
      tangled in amorous nets
    • Crashaw
      When my simple weakness strays, / Tangled in forbidden ways.
    • 2001, Christine A. Kelly, Tangled Up in Red, White, and Blue: New Social Movements in America, →ISBN:
      This is a book about the potential for the reclamation, reform, and enlightened transformation of the most expansive elements of the liberal tradition— that social and economic justice remain tangled in liberalism's web of pretentious institutions and betrayed promises is the reason for this battle from within.
    • 2004, Eve Ikuenobe-Otaigbe, Tangled, →ISBN, page 80:
      He spent the night at a friend's place unable to sleep and wondering how he got himself tangled in this mess.
    • 2014, Mercedes Lackey, ‎James Mallory, The House of the Four Winds, →ISBN:
      Why else would she have tangled him in spells of illusion to get him to keep her company?
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Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Noun[edit]

tangle (plural tangles)

  1. A tangled twisted mass.
  2. A complicated or confused state or condition.
    • 2013 August 3, “Boundary problems”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
      Economics is a messy discipline: too fluid to be a science, too rigorous to be an art. Perhaps it is fitting that economists’ most-used metric, gross domestic product (GDP), is a tangle too. GDP measures the total value of output in an economic territory. Its apparent simplicity explains why it is scrutinised down to tenths of a percentage point every month.
    I tried to sort through this tangle and got nowhere.
  3. An argument, conflict, dispute, or fight.
  4. (mathematics) A region of the projection of a knot such that the knot crosses its perimeter exactly four times.
  5. A form of art which consists of sections filled with repetitive patterns.
Synonyms[edit]
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Etymology 2[edit]

Of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian tongul, Faroese tongul, Icelandic þöngull.

Noun[edit]

tangle (countable and uncountable, plural tangles)

  1. Any large type of seaweed, especially a species of Laminaria.
    • 1849, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam, 10:
      Than if with thee the roaring wells / Should gulf him fathom-deep in brine; / And hands so often clasped in mine, / Should toss with tangle and with shells.
    • 1917, Kenneth Macleod (editor) "The Road to the Isles", in Songs of the Hebrides:
      You've never smelled the tangle o' the Isles.
  2. (in the plural) An instrument consisting essentially of an iron bar to which are attached swabs, or bundles of frayed rope, or other similar substances, used to capture starfishes, sea urchins, and other similar creatures living at the bottom of the sea.

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