Definition of imbroglio
imbroglio was our Word of the Day on 11/29/2009. Hear the podcast!
Examples of imbroglio in a sentence
a celebrated imbroglio involving some big names in the New York literary scene
Did You Know?
Imbroglio and "embroilment" are more than just synonyms; they're also linked through etymology. Both descend from the Middle French verb embrouiller (same meaning as "embroil"), from the prefix em-, meaning "thoroughly," plus brouiller, meaning "to mix" or "to confuse." ("Brouiller" is itself a descendant of an Old French word for broth.) Early in the 17th century, English speakers began using "embroil," a direct adaptation of "embrouiller." Our noun "embroilment," which also entered the language in the early 17th century, comes from the same source. Meanwhile, the Italians were using their own alteration of "embrouiller" : imbrogliare, meaning "to entangle." In the mid-18th century, English speakers embraced the Italian noun imbroglio as well.
Origin and Etymology of imbroglio
Italian, from imbrogliare to entangle, from Medieval French embrouiller — more at embroil
First Known Use: 1750
IMBROGLIO Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of imbroglio for English Language Learners
: a complex dispute or argument
Learn More about imbroglio
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imbroglio
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up imbroglio? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).