verb (1)
man·​gle | \ ˈmaŋ-gəl How to pronounce mangle (audio) \
mangled; mangling\ ˈmaŋ-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce mangle (audio) \

Definition of mangle

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to injure with deep disfiguring wounds by cutting, tearing, or crushing people … mangled by sharks— V. G. Heiser
2 : to spoil, injure, or make incoherent especially through ineptitude a story mangled beyond recognition



Definition of mangle (Entry 2 of 3)

: a machine for ironing laundry by passing it between heated rollers


verb (2)
mangled; mangling\ ˈmaŋ-​g(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce mangle (audio) \

Definition of mangle (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

: to press or smooth (something, such as damp linen) with a mangle

Choose the Right Synonym for mangle

Verb (1)

maim, cripple, mutilate, batter, mangle mean to injure so severely as to cause lasting damage. maim implies the loss or injury of a bodily member through violence. maimed by a shark cripple implies the loss or serious impairment of an arm or leg. crippled for life in an accident mutilate implies the cutting off or removal of an essential part of a person or thing thereby impairing its completeness, beauty, or function. a tree mutilated by inept pruning batter implies a series of blows that bruise deeply, deform, or mutilate. an old ship battered by fierce storms mangle implies a tearing or crushing that leaves deep wounds. a soldier's leg mangled by shrapnel

Did you know?

Besides the "mutilate" verb mangle, English has the noun mangle ("a machine for ironing laundry by passing it between heated rollers") and its related verb ("to press or smooth with a mangle"). There's no etymological relationship, however, between that pair and the mangle that means "to mutilate or bungle." The ironing-related homographs come from Dutch and ultimately from a Latin word that also gave English mangonel, the name for a military engine used to hurl missiles. The injury-related mangle comes from Anglo-French and may be a relation of the words maim and mayhem via Anglo-French mahaigner, "to maim."

First Known Use of mangle

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1696, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

circa 1775, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mangle

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French mangler, mahangler, perhaps from mahaigner to maim — more at mayhem


Dutch mangel, from German, from Middle High German, diminutive of mange mangonel, mangle, from Latin manganum

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The first known use of mangle was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Mangle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for mangle


man·​gle | \ ˈmaŋ-gəl How to pronounce mangle (audio) \
mangled; mangling

Kids Definition of mangle

1 : to injure badly by cutting, tearing, or crushing
2 : to spoil while making or performing If she's nervous, she'll mangle the speech.


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