Definition of tangled in US English:

tangled

adjective

  • 1Twisted together untidily; matted.

    ‘his hair was a tangled mess’
    • ‘This machine arrived as a heap of tangled metal and over a five-year period was transformed into a fine example of authentic restoration.’
    • ‘His installations, made of scrap objects and tied up with tangled roping, dominate the landscape.’
    • ‘Her hair was now a tangled mess from the numerous run-throughs with her hands.’
    • ‘By now the path has degraded into the faintest of trails, partly hidden by leaves, obscured sometimes entirely by masses of tangled roots.’
    • ‘Cut out any dead or weak wood, and all tangled branches.’
    • ‘The installations were accompanied by small nature paintings, a tangled root clump in one, a water lily in another.’
    • ‘There's an old black man, an aborigine, with long, tangled dreadlocks, kneeling at the edge of the pit.’
    • ‘The Yeah Yeah Yeahs front woman was lying in a tangled heap several feet below the stage of Sydney's Metro Theatre.’
    • ‘Lying in the tangled mass of DNA is the chemical roadmap by which the biological past made it to the present.’
    • ‘Researchers have long known that fish often mature in the murky saltwater amid the tangled labyrinths of roots created by mangroves.’
    • ‘A good metaphor for this complexity is a large, tangled ball of string.’
    • ‘The world seems knitting itself in a tangled thread of the words of war.’
    • ‘Near sunset, flocks of white and black egrets flew in to settle in the tangled mangrove branches above.’
    • ‘Men lay wounded and dying amid the tangled rigging.’
    • ‘He ended up with the soiled sheets in a tangled pile at his feet.’
    • ‘The tangled steel frameworks of several of the toppled radio towers were also lying near me.’
    • ‘She lay tangled in her blanket, one arm hiding her face.’
    • ‘The youngster let out a yelp and clutched at the crown of his thatch of tangled, sandy hair.’
    • ‘Beside him, the Indian girl came partway awake, batting a clot of tangled hair from her face.’
    • ‘Entire villages had been reduced to tangled scrap heaps of rubble.’
    • ‘I bend down to give her a kiss, pulling back the tangled mesh of her black hair.’
    ravelled, entangled, snarled, snarled up, entwined, intertwisted, twisted, knotted, knotty, enmeshed, coiled, matted, tangly, messy, muddled
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    1. 1.1 Complicated and confused; chaotic.
      ‘a tangled tale’
      ‘the tangled relationships between Ryan and Marissa, and Seth and Summer’
      • ‘The problem is this is all so tangled and mucky, I'm not sure what the legal issues actually are anymore.’
      • ‘Drawing on an exhaustive and tangled corpus of material, Kinney examines the many facets of these enterprises.’
      • ‘And there is nothing more cheaply entertaining than a friend with a tangled love life.’
      • ‘Terry rails against Jack's indifference and desperately tries to salvage some kind of relationship from the tangled chaos.’
      • ‘And, as a melodrama about broken friendships and tangled family relationships, it only does the job some of the time.’
      • ‘To pretty much anyone this lot represents a bewildering, tangled, confused maze of information.’
      • ‘I scribbled notes and hoped for some insight into the tangled mass of problems I had made my life's work.’
      • ‘He doesn't name a specific place, a specific society, or a particular world for Mozart's tangled love game.’
      • ‘To me, the right result seems clear, even though the facts are complicated and the legal history is tangled.’
      • ‘The truth of course is that sex is more potent than politics, even the tangled politics of royalty.’
      • ‘Set in the world of publishing, Pinter's play lays bare the tangled relationships of its three main characters together with all the hurts of a long-standing affair.’
      • ‘The rest of the narrative is a tangled mess that sacrifices development of any kind at the altar of spectacular setpieces.’
      • ‘The tangled evidence indicates that Crazy Horse favored a breakout to reunite with Sitting Bull.’
      • ‘The affair is a very tangled one.’
      • ‘They're locked in a feedback loop, a tangled form of denial.’
      • ‘The soldiers will be from local militias and local reserves, with all the tangled politics that implies.’
      • ‘It's a feud that's much too tangled to unravel in an op-ed piece.’
      • ‘The range of characters results in a number of subplots that interweave to create a tangled story arc.’
      confused, jumbled, mixed up, messy, chaotic, scrambled, complicated, involved, convoluted, complex, intricate, knotty, tortuous, devious, maze-like, labyrinthine
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • a tangled web

    • A complex, difficult, and confusing situation or thing.

      • ‘He stars as the hard-bitten ex-cop who gets drawn into a tangled web of drugs, murder, and ultimately, revenge.’
      • ‘I didn't mention that I had dated a total of one guy, had a disastrous event with two others and was in a tangled web of confusion with a third.’
      • ‘The whole situation had been a tangled web, but after everything that had occurred, he knew that for the sake of family and for the sake of a child, he knew he would have to go back.’
      • ‘It may be the most complex structure in the universe, a tangled web of more than a hundred billion nerve cells.’
      • ‘I'm one of those people that believes decisions are rarely black and white, but rather are a tangled web of possibilities, opportunities, and consequences.’
      • ‘While in Mexico to retrieve an overdue debt, he finds himself embroiled in a tangled web of love, passion and betrayal.’
      • ‘Rather than enter into the labyrinth of that debate, I would prefer to argue that it shows what a tangled web we weave whenever we import private profit into a public service.’
      • ‘Instead, it has become a tangled web of bureaucracy, with unprecedented powers afforded to the Minister.’
      • ‘But with official records locked away for many years to come and her life shrouded in a tangled web of secrecy, the real truth has probably died with her.’
      • ‘The trial threatened to, and in the event did, unmask a tangled web of conflicting engagements between government departments.’

Pronunciation

tangled

/ˈtæŋɡ(ə)ld//ˈtaNGɡ(ə)ld/