wrangle

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

The verb is derived from Middle English wranglen, wrangle (to contend with (someone) in a test of strength; (figuratively) to make misleading arguments to entrap);[1] from a Middle Dutch or Middle Low German word related to Middle Dutch wrangen and Middle Low German wrangen (to cause an uproar; to struggle, wrestle) (whence Low German wrangeln (to wrangle)), related to Middle Dutch wringen (to twist; to wrest; to wring; to struggle, wrestle),[2] ultimately from Proto-Germanic *wringaną (to squeeze; to twist; to wring).

The noun is derived from the verb.[3]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

wrangle (third-person singular simple present wrangles, present participle wrangling, simple past and past participle wrangled)

  1. (transitive)
    1. To convince or influence (someone) by arguing or contending.
    2. Followed by out of: to elicit (something) from a person by arguing or bargaining.
    3. (archaic, rare)
      1. To speak or write (something) in an argumentative or contentious manner.
      2. To spend (time) arguing or quarrelling.
    4. (Western US) To herd (horses or other livestock).
      1. (by extension, humorous) To manage or supervise (people).
        • 2010 October 3, Sean Gordon, “Gionta settles in, stands out”, in The Globe and Mail[2], Toronto, Ont.: The Globe and Mail Inc., ISSN 0319-0714, OCLC 6155622, archived from the original on 15 June 2021:
          Wrangling a chaotic group of five-year-olds is unnerving enough without the added stress of a famous NHLer [Brian Gionta] in the room helping lace his son’s skates.
      2. (figuratively) To gather and organize (data, facts, information, etc.), especially in a way which requires sentience rather than automated methods alone, as in data wrangling.
        Synonym: munge
    5. (obsolete)
      1. Followed by out of: to compel or drive (someone or something) away through arguing.
      2. Followed by out: to put forward arguments on (a case, a matter disagreed upon, etc.).
      3. (reflexive) To cause (oneself) grief through arguing or quarrelling.
        • 1649 April 20 (date written; Gregorian calendar), Robert Sanderson, “[Appendix, No. 5.] Letter I. Dr. Sanderson to N. N., Respecting the Relative Merits of the Presbyterians and the Independents”, in George D’Oyly, The Life of William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, [], volume II, London: John Murray, [], published 1821, OCLC 957691825, page 442:
          When we have wrangled ourselves as long as our wits and strengths will serve us, the honest, downright sober English Protestant will be found, in the end, the man in the safest way, and by the surest line: []
  2. (intransitive)
    1. (also figuratively) To quarrel angrily and noisily; to bicker.
      Synonyms: altercate, contend; see also Thesaurus:squabble
      • 1574, John Whitgift, “Of Matters Touching Baptism. Tract XVI. [Of the Parties that are to be Baptised. Chapter iv. The First Division.]”, in John Ayre, editor, The Works of John Whitgift, D.D. [] The Third Portion, Containing the Defence of the Answer to the Admonition, against the Reply of Thomas Cartwright: Tractates XI–XXIII. Sermons, Selected Letters, &c., Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] University Press, published 1853, OCLC 912909499, page 134:
        [A]fter his old manner, he wrangleth and quarrelleth.
      • c. 1603–1604 (date written), William Shakespeare, The Tragœdy of Othello, the Moore of Venice. [] (First Quarto), London: [] N[icholas] O[kes] for Thomas Walkley, [], published 1622, OCLC 724111485, [Act III, scene iv], page 59:
        Mens natures vvrangle with inferior things, / Tho great ones are the obiect, []
      • 1607, Terence, “Andria”, in R[ichard] B[ernard], transl., Terence in English. Fabulæ Comici Facetissimi et Elegantissimi Poetæ Terentii Omnes Anglicæ Factæ, [] [The Comic Tales of the Most Witty and Elegant Poet Terence, All Done in English, []], 2nd edition, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] Iohannis Legat, OCLC 822213169, Act IV, scene i, page 71:
        There vvas a contention of vvordes betvvixt you & your father erevvhile. Thou vvert at vvords, or vvrangledſt vvith him right novv.
      • 1609, Thomas Dekker, “The Guls Horne-booke: []: Chap. I. The Old World, & the New Weighed Together: [].”, in Alexander B[alloch] Grosart, editor, The Non-dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker. [] (The Huth Library), volume II, London; Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire: [] [Hazell, Watson, & Viney] for private circulation only, published 1885, OCLC 4797086, page 210:
        Did man, (thinke you) come wrangling into the world, about no better matters, then all his lifetime to make priuy ſearches in Burchin lane for Whalebone doublets, or for pies of Nightingale tongues in Heliogabalus his kitchin?
      • 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene i], page 17, column 2:
        Yes, for a ſcore of Kingdomes, you ſhould vvrangle, / And I vvould call it, faire play.
      • 1615, George Sandys, “The Third Booke”, in The Relation of a Journey Begun An. Dom. 1610. [], London: [] [Richard Field] for W. Barrett, OCLC 25923553, page 207:
        Vpon the eighth of Aprill vve vvent aboord the Trinity, and hoiſſed ſailes for Sidon: the vvindes fauourable, and the ſeas compoſed; but anon they began to vvrangle, and vve to ſuffer.
      • 1619, Two Wise Men and All the Rest Fooles: Or A Comicall Morall, Censuring the Follies of this Age, [], [London: s.n.], OCLC 228714073, Act I, scene i, page 10:
        [H]ee cavelleth or vvrangleth not vvith any in this kind: therefore you are a lying fellovv.
      • [1633], George Herbert, “Humilitie”, in [Nicholas Ferrar], editor, The Temple: Sacred Poems, and Private Ejaculations, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] Thomas Buck and Roger Daniel; and are to be sold by Francis Green, [], OCLC 1048966979; reprinted London: Elliot Stock, [], 1885, OCLC 54151361, page 62:
        Here it is / For vvhich ye vvrangle, []
      • 1653, Iz[aak] Wa[lton], chapter XI, in The Compleat Angler or The Contemplative Man’s Recreation. Being a Discourse of Fish and Fishing, [], London: [] T. Maxey for Rich[ard] Marriot, [], OCLC 1097101645; reprinted as The Compleat Angler (Homo Ludens; 6), Nieuwkoop, South Holland, Netherlands: Miland Publishers, 1969, →ISBN:
        [T]here vve ſit, / for a bit, / till vve fiſh intangle. / [] / [W]e ſit ſtill, / vvatch our quill, / Fiſhers muſt not rangle.
      • 1716 May 15 (Gregorian calendar), Joseph Addison, “The Free-holder: No. 39. Friday, May 4. [1716.]”, in The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq; [], volume IV, London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], published 1721, OCLC 1056445272, pages 501–502:
        He did not knovv vvhat it vvas to vvrangle on indifferent points, to triumph in the ſuperiority of his underſtanding, or to be ſupercilious on the ſide of truth.
      • 1725, [Daniel Defoe], “Part II”, in A New Voyage Round the World, by a Course Never Sailed before. [], London: [] A[rthur] Bettesworth, []; and W. Mears, [], OCLC 579994, page 202:
        [T]he Captain and the other ſtaid vvith the Men, vvho vvere very unruly, and ever and anon quarrelling and vvrangling about their VVealth, vvhich, indeed, vvas very conſiderable; []
      • 1774, [Oliver] Goldsmith, Retaliation: A Poem. [], new (2nd) edition, London: [] G[eorge] Kearsly, [], OCLC 230682822, page 9:
        VVhat ſpirits vvere his, vvhat vvit and vvhat vvhim, / Novv breaking a jeſt, and novv breaking a limb; / Novv rangling and grumbling to keep up the ball, / Novv teazing and vexing, yet laughing at all?
      • 1816, [Walter Scott], chapter XI, in The Antiquary. [], volume I, Edinburgh: [] James Ballantyne and Co. for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, OCLC 226649000, page 255:
        [T]hey sometimes wrangle with her for an hour together under my study window, like three sea-gulls screaming and sputtering in a gale of wind.
      • 1896, [Vyasa], chapter XXXI, in [anonymous], transl.; Manmatha Nath Dutt, editor, A Prose English Translation of Srimadbhagavatam, book I, Calcutta, West Bengal: [] H. C. Dass, [], OCLC 800901203, page 150:
        Then this person influenced by desire, on account of his ever-increasing anger and sense of self-importance, wrangleth with others in order to bring destruction down upon himself.
      • 1941, Emily Carr, “Salt Water”, in Klee Wyck, centennial edition, Toronto, Ont.; Vancouver, B.C.: Clarke, Irwin & Company, published 1971, →ISBN, page 83:
        I stood where land and sea wrangled ferociously over the overlap.
    2. To make harsh noises as if quarrelling.
      Synonym: jangle
    3. (generally, also figuratively) To argue, to debate; also (dated), to debate or discuss publicly, especially about a thesis at a university.

Conjugation[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

wrangle (countable and uncountable, plural wrangles)

  1. (countable) An angry dispute; a noisy quarrel; an altercation.
    • 1563 March 30, Hugh Latimer, “A Frutefull Letter of Maister Latimer Written to a Certaine Gentilman”, in John Foxe, Actes and Monuments of These Latter and Perillous Dayes, [], London: [] Iohn Day, [], OCLC 64451939, book V, page 1350 [1419]:
      For in that you would your awardship shuld take none effect, you shew your selfe nothing inclinable to the redresse of your brothers vnright dealinge wyth an honeste poore man, which hath bene redye at your request to doo you pleasure with his things, or els he had neuer come into this wrāgle for his own goods with your brother.
    • [1732 March 6 (Gregorian calendar; date written), [Jonathan Swift], Considerations upon Two Bills Sent Down from the R[ight] H[onourable] the H[ouse] of L[ords] to the H[onoura]ble H[ouse] of C[ommons of Ireland] Relating to the Clergy of I[relan]d, London: [] A. Moore, [], published 1732, OCLC 1326030615, page 18:
      This vvould of Neceſſity, breed an infinite Number of Brangles and litigious Suits in the Spiritual Courts, and put the vvretched Paſtor at perpetual Variance vvith his vvhole Pariſh.]
    • 2020 January 31, quoting Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, “Brexit: Flag lowered at Senedd as the UK leaves the EU”, in BBC News[3], published 1 February 2020, archived from the original on 13 October 2022:
      For many people this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come. And there are many of course who feel a sense of anxiety and loss. And then of course there is a third group – perhaps the biggest – who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would never come to an end. I understand all those feelings and our job as the government – my job – is to bring this country together now and take us forward.
  2. (uncountable) Angry disputation; noisy quarrelling.
    Wrangle and bloodshed followed thence.
  3. (obsolete, countable)
    1. A contentious argument or response.
    2. A controversy.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ wranglen, v.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.
  2. ^ Compare “wrangle, v.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2022; “wrangle, v.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.
  3. ^ wrangle, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2021; “wrangle, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Anagrams[edit]