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 In the years since the dossier’s publication, any number of reporters and analysts have sought to untangle this question, with little success. Quinta Jurecic, Washington Post, "Explaining the Steele dossier — and how information flows in Washington," 27 Nov. 2019 For those wishing to untangle those questions, the video component of Close gives an unprecedented look at the art of DJ performance, at least how Hawtin conducts it. Joshua Glazer, Billboard, "Richie Hawtin Discusses His Close Combined Project: 'If Techno's Mission Is Still About Pushing Forward, I Want to Embody That'," 22 Nov. 2019 Judging by the first batch of episodes, the series is attempting to untangle the thorny, systemic gender and power issues in the morning-news industry. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "How The Morning Show Interrogates the #MeToo Debate," 7 Nov. 2019 To untangle answers, Bradt and her collaborators in Maine have conducted field surveys and laboratory studies to document the seasonality, water temperature, salinity and morphological changes that coincide with molting. Laura Poppick, Scientific American, "Harm to Table: Turning an Invasive Crab into a Delicacy," 30 Oct. 2019 However, more work is needed to precisely untangle the mechanism behind these discrete pulses of energy, says Ekström, who was one of the reviewers for the study. National Geographic, "New seismic phenomenon discovered, named stormquakes," 16 Oct. 2019 There are no political-economy problems to untangle (though without investment in green energy, air-conditioning adds to the general problem while mitigating it for individuals). The Economist, "Humanity will find ways to adapt to climate change," 19 Sep. 2019 Daniel Craig plays the wily detective brought in to untangle the truth in Rian Johnson's old-fashioned all-star whodunit, as the family of Christopher Plummer's famed mystery writer circle like vultures. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Knives Out': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 As the 50th anniversary of the Manson Family’s crimes approaches, here’s a primer that attempts to untangle the who, what, where, and why of the case. Angela Serratore, Smithsonian, "What You Need to Know About the Manson Family Murders," 25 July 2019

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

12 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Untangle.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/untangle?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=u&file=untang01. Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on untangle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for untangle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with untangle

Spanish Central: Translation of untangle

Nglish: Translation of untangle for Spanish Speakers

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to assail by words or arguments

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