To tangle something is to mess it up or create a situation that is difficult to undo.

  • When people go fishing, sometimes their fishing line gets tangled.
  • String can easily become tangled if it’s not wrapped around something such as a ball.
  • Yarn is easily tangled. (This sentence is in the passive voice and in the present tense.)
  • Whenever I put my Christmas lights up or take them down, the strings of lights always get tangled.
  • The lights become a tangled mess. (The word "tangled" is an adjective.)
  • Hair can easily tangle if it isn’t combed of brushed.
  • Flies become tangled in a spider web and are unable to escape.

tangle It can be difficult to untangle holiday lights.

The word "tangle" can be used figuratively when describing situations of deep involvement:

  • Rodney became tangled up in gang activity and was arrested by the police.
  • Many people resist getting tangled up in politics.
  • Don’t tangle with wild animals. You will probably get hurt. (tangle with = fight or tease)
  • It’s not smart to tangle with the police because they have guns and tasers.

The word "tangle" can also be used as a noun:

  • This shampoo claims to reduce tangles.
  • Sophia’s mother uses a special brush to remove the tangles from her daughter’s hair.
  • Todd got into a tangle with the police.
  • I had to undo a tangle of knots on my children’s shoes.

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January 25, 2018