Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To extricate from entanglement or involvement; free. See Synonyms at extricate.
  • transitive v. To clear up or resolve (a plot, for example); unravel.
  • intransitive v. To become free of entanglement.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To free something from entanglement; to extricate or unknot
  • v. To unravel a mystery etc
  • v. To become free or untangled

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To free from entanglement; to release from a condition of being intricately and confusedly involved or interlaced; to reduce to orderly arrangement; to straighten out.
  • transitive v. To extricate from complication and perplexity; disengage from embarrassing connection or intermixture; to disembroil; to set free; to separate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To free from entanglement; extricate from a state of involvement, disorder, or confusion: as, to disentangle a skein of thread, a mass of cordage, a set of accounts, or the affairs of a bankrupt firm.
  • To loose from that in or by which anything is entangled; extricate from whatever involves, perplexes, embarrasses, or confuses; disengage: as, to disentangle an object from a mass of twisted cord; to disentangle one's self from business, from political affairs, or from the cares and temptations of life.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. smoothen and neaten with or as with a comb
  • v. free from involvement or entanglement
  • v. extricate from entanglement
  • v. release from entanglement of difficulty
  • v. separate the tangles of

Etymologies

dis- +‎ entangle (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "I do not wish to be insulting, but I firmly believe that if you took an average tow-line, and stretched it out straight across the middle of a field, and then turned your back on it for thirty seconds, that, when you looked round again, you would find that it had got itself altogether in a heap in the middle of the field, and had twisted itself up, and tied itself into knots, and lost its two ends, and become all loops; and it would take you a good half-hour, sitting down there on the grass and swearing all the while, to disentangle it again."
    - Jerome K. Jerome, 'Three Men in a Boat'.

    August 28, 2009