A tangle is a jumble. You might have a tangle of cords behind your computer or a tangle of complications related to your taxes. Whatever it is, once something is in a tangle, it's difficult to sort out.

The word tangle likely originated from a Scandinavian source — taggla, in a Swedish dialect, means “disarrange.” Tangle also can be used as a verb: you may tangle your hair as a fashion statement, but then it hurts to comb it out. As a noun, tangle can refer to an argument or a fight between two people: if you're really feisty, people might be warned away from getting into a tangle with you.

Definitions of tangle
  1. verb
    twist together or entwine into a confusing mass
    synonyms: entangle, mat, snarl
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    disentangle, straighten out, unsnarl
    extricate from entanglement
    mat together and make felt-like
    enmesh, ensnarl, mesh
    entangle or catch in (or as if in) a mesh
    type of:
    distort, twine, twist
    form into a spiral shape
  2. verb
    disarrange or rumple; dishevel
    synonyms: dishevel, tousle
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    type of:
    destroy the arrangement or order of
  3. verb
    tangle or complicate
    synonyms: knot, ravel
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    unknot, unpick, unravel, unscramble, untangle
    become or cause to become undone by separating the fibers or threads of
    ravel, ravel out, unravel
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    type of:
    enlace, entwine, interlace, intertwine, lace, twine
    spin,wind, or twist together
  4. noun
    a twisted and tangled mass that is highly interwoven
    “they carved their way through the tangle of vines”
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    hair ball, hairball, trichobezoar
    a compact mass of hair that forms in the alimentary canal (especially in the stomach of animals as a result of licking fur)
    a matted tangle of hair or fiber
    type of:
    natural object
    an object occurring naturally; not made by man
  5. noun
    something jumbled or confused
    “a tangle of government regulations”
    synonyms: maze, snarl
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    type of:
    trouble or confusion resulting from complexity
  6. verb
    force into some kind of situation, condition, or course of action
    synonyms: drag, drag in, embroil, sweep, sweep up
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    type of:
    engage as a participant
Word Family
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