em·​broil | \ im-ˈbrȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce embroil (audio) \
embroiled; embroiling; embroils

Definition of embroil

transitive verb

1 : to throw into disorder or confusion
2 : to involve in conflict or difficulties embroiled in controversy

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Other Words from embroil

embroilment \ im-​ˈbrȯi(-​ə)l-​mənt How to pronounce embroilment (audio) \ noun

Examples of embroil in a Sentence

His stand on this issue has embroiled him in controversy. The new drug has been embroiled in controversy. They were embroiled in a complicated lawsuit.
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Recent Examples on the Web Minor members of the royal family have struggled in the past to monetize their links to the monarchy without getting embroiled in scandal or cheapening the royal brand. Jason Douglas, WSJ, "Prince Harry, Meghan to Give Up ‘Royal Highness’ Titles," 18 Jan. 2020 Some leaders became embroiled in charges of anti-Semitism in 2018, stoked by a refusal to disavow Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader widely criticized for his anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ positions. Michael Wines, BostonGlobe.com, "The Women’s March, Year 4: Broader issues and more controversy," 18 Jan. 2020 The play originally opened on Broadway in 1947 and follows the Kellers after World War II as Joe is embroiled in a controversy and their oldest son Larry is still missing. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Watch Sally Field and Bill Pullman Deal with a Secret in Play Revival All My Sons," 14 Jan. 2020 But with President Trump embroiled in a tense standoff with Iran this month, some voters have also turned more attention to foreign policy. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, "New Iowa Poll Shows Tight Race, With Joe Biden Jumping Ahead," 13 Jan. 2020 But Democrats have tended to get the U.S. embroiled in military conflicts, too, which has led to critiques from Bernie Sanders and others that the Party needs to reorient its foreign-policy views. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Andrew Bacevich on Foreign-Policy Mistakes," 13 Jan. 2020 Ukraine is used to being embroiled in international turmoil. NBC News, "After jet tragedy and impeachment drama, Ukrainians fatigued by bad news," 11 Jan. 2020 Aside from an economic bounce, Tsai also benefited from the turmoil embroiling Hong Kong, where for six months pro-democracy protesters have agitated for greater democracy. Time, "Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen Wins Reelection With Record Support," 11 Jan. 2020 In addition, reserve offensive lineman Clay Webb remains embroiled in a bizarre lawsuit stemming from his days at Oxford High School. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Georgia lineman Cade Mays transferring, reportedly to Tennessee," 8 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'embroil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of embroil

1603, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for embroil

French embrouiller, from Middle French, from en- + brouiller to jumble, from Old French brooilier, from Vulgar Latin *brodiculare — more at broil

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Time Traveler for embroil

Time Traveler

The first known use of embroil was in 1603

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Statistics for embroil

Last Updated

25 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Embroil.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embroiled. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for embroil


How to pronounce embroil (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of embroil

: to involve (someone or something) in conflict or difficulties

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More from Merriam-Webster on embroil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for embroil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with embroil

Spanish Central: Translation of embroil

Nglish: Translation of embroil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of embroil for Arabic Speakers

Comments on embroil

What made you want to look up embroil? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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