un·​tan·​gle | \ ˌən-ˈtaŋ-gəl How to pronounce untangle (audio) \
untangled; untangling; untangles

Definition of untangle

transitive verb

: to loose from tangles or entanglement : straighten out untangle a knot untangle a mystery

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Choose the Right Synonym for untangle

extricate, disentangle, untangle, disencumber, disembarrass mean to free from what binds or holds back. extricate implies the use of care or ingenuity in freeing from a difficult position or situation. extricated himself from financial difficulties disentangle and untangle suggest painstaking separation of a thing from other things. disentangling fact from fiction untangle a web of deceit disencumber implies a release from something that clogs or weighs down. an article disencumbered of jargon disembarrass suggests a release from something that impedes or hinders. disembarrassed herself of her advisers

Examples of untangle in a Sentence

She carefully untangled the child's hair. He untangled the garden hose.
Recent Examples on the Web Scientists have tried to untangle the internal chemistry of bombardier beetles for decades. National Geographic, 30 June 2020 With a new quarterback, new defensive system and (largely) new coaching staff there are going to be kinks for Michigan to untangle in the early portions of Saturday’s game. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, 2 Sep. 2021 Every night, my mom would untangle my hair, which was super curly. Jessica Crue, Allure, 31 Aug. 2021 The album, which imitates subdued moments of maternal bonding, tries to untangle the hereditary from that which is taught. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 31 Aug. 2021 After a young man is shot in his home, Oklahoma detectives must untangle a love triangle to uncover the truth. Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2021 Kelley negotiated settlement agreements, and worked through the bankruptcy and government forfeiture process to untangle the fraud. Dee Depass, Star Tribune, 30 July 2021 But the strands of the case proved too hard for prosecutors to untangle in Nassau County Court on Long Island, and Dr. Gerard, who had tended Secretariat and Kelso, got off with a misdemeanor and a few months in jail. New York Times, 3 June 2021 Now, authorities are trying to untangle what is actually a fairly complex legal case, according to the BBC. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 29 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'untangle.' 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 untangle

1550, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for untangle

Time Traveler

The first known use of untangle was in 1550

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Untangle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/untangle. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for untangle



English Language Learners Definition of untangle

: to separate (things that are twisted together) : to remove the twists or knots in (something)


un·​tan·​gle | \ ˌən-ˈtaŋ-gəl How to pronounce untangle (audio) \
untangled; untangling

Kids Definition of untangle

1 : to remove a tangle from
2 : to straighten out You need to untangle your money situation.

More from Merriam-Webster on untangle

Nglish: Translation of untangle for Spanish Speakers


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