Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A difficult or intricate situation; an entanglement.
  • noun A confused or complicated disagreement.
  • noun Archaic A confused heap; a tangle.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An intricate and perplexing state of affairs; a misunderstanding of a complicated nature, as between persons or nations; an entanglement.
  • noun An intricate or complicated plot, as against a person, or of a romance or drama.
  • noun In music, a passage in which the rhythms of different voice-parts are conflicting or contradictory.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An intricate, complicated plot, as of a drama or work of fiction.
  • noun A complicated and embarrassing state of things; a serious misunderstanding or disagreement, especially one that is bitter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a complicated situation; an entanglement

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

  • noun a very embarrassing misunderstanding
  • noun an intricate and confusing interpersonal or political situation

Etymologies

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

[Italian, from Old Italian, from imbrogliare, to tangle, confuse : in-, in (from Latin; see in–) + brogliare, to mix, stir (probably from Old French brooiller, brouiller; see broil).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian imbroglio "tangle", from imbrogliare "to tangle", cognate with and probably from an earlier form of French embrouiller "muddle, embroil", from em- "en-" + brouiller.

Examples

  • What's been a little surprising about this Caprio imbroglio is that it took some days for the climax to arrive.

    Rhode Island Democrat: Obama Can 'Shove It'

  • What's been a little surprising about this Caprio imbroglio is that it took some days for the climax to arrive.

    Rhode Island Democrat: Obama Can 'Shove It'

  • "This free-speech imbroglio is another example of Park Service leadership with its head in the sand, waiting to get sued rather than affirmatively addressing issues before they end up in court," Ruch said.

    Permit process eased for gatherings at national parks

  • "This free-speech imbroglio is another example of Park Service leadership with its head in the sand, waiting to get sued rather than affirmatively addressing issues before they end up in court," Ruch said.

    Permit process eased for gatherings at national parks

  • As crises go, the Clinton-Lewinsky imbroglio is now an absurdist, bathetic footnote to what was in fact significant about that era: the evolution of finance in a culture of deregulation and the evolution of jihadism against the United States.

    Time For A Slow-Word Movement

  • "This free speech imbroglio is another example of Park Service leadership with its head in the sand, waiting to get sued rather than affirmatively addressing issues before they end up in court," Ruch said.

    Need for permits eased at national parks

  • The Williams imbroglio is teachable, but its lessons actually point in the opposite direction: America's public media system, including NPR, requires more funding, not less.

    Why Fox News should help fund NPR

  • Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales takes to Capitol Hill to testify today, it's worth keeping in mind what this whole imbroglio is really about.

    Easter Lemming Liberal News

  • Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales takes to Capitol Hill to testify today, it's worth keeping in mind what this whole imbroglio is really about.

    Archive 2007-04-01

  • Talk of a new cold war and of punishing Russia for the Georgian imbroglio is short-sighted, argues Peter Sain ley Berry ....

    EUobserver.com - Headline News

Comments

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  • "The one time he Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama explicitly addressed the issue of race, in his speech in Philadelphia on March 18 of this year – during the imbroglio over Reverend Jeremiah Wright – he took pains to show that he understood white anxieties about blacks."

    – Elizabeth Drew, "The Truth About the Election," New York Review of Books, 18 December 2008 – 14 January 2009, 94.

    December 14, 2008

  • (*) etymology: italian - from imbrogliare to entangle; from middle french - embrouiller,

    (*) would assume most english speakers would utilise embroil

    May 8, 2009

  • I think the definition that is used more widely is an equal cross between the first and the third of the given definitions on this page.

    July 18, 2009

  • "The three small figures disappeared into the dimly lit streets of Sobek Croix, where gaslight was brown and half-hearted where it existed at all. Behind them the enormous imbroglio of colour, metal, glass, sugar and sweat continued to pour its noise and light pollution into the sky." From Perdido Street Station by China Mieville.

    October 1, 2011