Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A snarl of threads or other things united confusedly, or so interwoven as not to be easily disengaged.
  • noun A device used in dredging, for sweeping the sea-bed in order to obtain delicate forms of marine life, too small or frangible to be obtained by ordinary dredging.
  • noun A perplexity or embarrassment; a complication.
  • noun A name of various large species of seaweed, especially Laminaria digitata and L. saccharina. See cut under seaweed. Also called tangle-wrack and hanger.
  • noun A tall, lank person; any long dangling thing.
  • To unite or knit together confusedly; interweave or interlace, as threads, so as to make it difficult to separate them; snarl.
  • To catch or involve as in a snarl; entrap; entangle.
  • To embroil; embarrass; confuse; perplex; involve; complicate.
  • Synonyms To entangle, intertwine, snarl (up).
  • To be entangled or united confusedly.
  • Froward; peevish.

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

  • transitive verb To unite or knit together confusedly; to interweave or interlock, as threads, so as to make it difficult to unravel the knot; to entangle; to ravel.
  • transitive verb To involve; to insnare; to entrap.
  • intransitive verb To be entangled or united confusedly; to get in a tangle.
  • noun (Bot.) Any large blackish seaweed, especially the Laminaria saccharina. See kelp.
  • noun A knot of threads, or other thing, united confusedly, or so interwoven as not to be easily disengaged; a snarl
  • noun 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.
  • noun (Bot.) ee Dangleberry.
  • noun (Zoöl.), [Prov. Eng.] the turnstone.

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

  • verb intransitive to become mixed together or intertwined
  • verb intransitive to be forced into some kind of situation
  • verb intransitive to enter into an argument, conflict, dispute, or fight
  • verb transitive to mix together or intertwine
  • verb transitive to catch and hold
  • noun a tangled twisted mass
  • noun a complicated or confused state or condition
  • noun an argument, conflict, dispute, or fight
  • noun mathematics A region of the projection of a knot such that the knot crosses its perimeter exactly four times.
  • noun Any large type of seaweed, especially a species of Laminaria.

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

  • verb force into some kind of situation, condition, or course of action
  • verb disarrange or rumple; dishevel
  • noun something jumbled or confused
  • noun a twisted and tangled mass that is highly interwoven
  • verb tangle or complicate
  • verb twist together or entwine into a confusing mass

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Origin uncertain; apparently a variant form of tagle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

Examples

  • The best way to make sense of this legal tangle is to mouse over the title of an individual scandal, which will highlight everyone implicated.

    Complete Interactive Guide to Bush and his Crimes | Disinformation

  • Francois was surprised, too, when they shot out in a tangle from the disrupted nest and he divined the cause of the trouble.

    Chapter 3

  • Francois was surprised, too, when they shot out in a tangle from the disrupted nest and he divined the cause of the trouble.

    Chapter 3, The Dominant Primordial Beast

  • Of course I know what the tangle is in the world for, as well as anybody else.

    Parables From Nature

  • I don't speak of myself alone, though of course I know one very sufficient reason why the tangle is in the world, if I chose to say.

    Parables From Nature

  • Adding to the tangle is a lawsuit filed last week in Delaware state court, in which a more-junior investor, Eastern Property Fund, is seeking to block the Paulson-Winthrop group from foreclosing, given that such an action would wipe out Eastern's investment.

    Ownership of CNL Resorts at Stake

  • Eighth, we should make sure that learning is available for a lifetime by transforming what can only be described as a tangle of federal training programs into a simple skill grant that goes directly to workers.

    President To American Council On Education

  • The tangle was a highly successful type of tree, and some of them formed wells whose rims were fashioned from buried bones of past prey.

    A Spell For Chameleon

  • The tangle was a highly successful type of tree, and some of them formed wells whose rims were fashioned from buried bones of past prey.

    A Spell For Chameleon

  • There in the midst of the tangle was a big black touring-car.

    The Girl and The Bill An American Story of Mystery, Romance and Adventure

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