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 Another step in toning down perfectionist parenting is to untangle the parental ego from the performance of the child. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "It's time to give up perfectionist parenting — forever. Here's how," 28 Aug. 2020 The improved model allowed the researchers to untangle the reasons that similar-looking knots behave very differently when pulled. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Mathematics of a Well-Tied Knot," 8 Jan. 2020 The goal: Make sure the election is not run in a way that attracts a gaggle of reporters to the Supervisor of Elections office, waiting outside to learn the results while teams inside scramble to untangle a mess. Anthony Man, sun-sentinel.com, "Elections on Tuesday will decide who runs elections for next four years in Broward and Palm Beach counties," 15 Aug. 2020 The trouble is, Root will need until 2025 to untangle credit scores from rate-setting. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Root Car Insurance Will Stop Using Credit Scores to Set Rates, Calling It Discriminatory," 14 Aug. 2020 In another post, a staffer worked to untangle sports netting from the body and talons of a great horn likely pursuing a meal. Bob Timmons, Star Tribune, "Fall migration, action at bird centers, and more make August a month to engage.," 13 Aug. 2020 Conway’s knot, a famous mathematical problem, was a tricky one to untangle. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Graduate Student Untangles Decades-Old Math Problem in Less Than a Week," 27 May 2020 It's further calibrated based on studies that attempt to untangle how much virus people emit while performing activities that involve exhalation. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "Measure the risk of airborne COVID-19 in your office, classroom, or bus ride," 11 Aug. 2020 Lawmakers have liaisons to the employment department and can sometimes help untangle thorny issues – though lawmakers, too, are facing a deluge of questions. oregonlive, "Oregon unemployment: What to do if you haven’t been paid?," 5 Aug. 2020

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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Statistics for untangle

Last Updated

8 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Untangle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/untangle. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for untangle


How to pronounce untangle (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for untangle

Nglish: Translation of untangle for Spanish Speakers

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