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

Separately, the German giant has started to make gradual progress toward untangling its unwieldy corporate structure. Christoph Rauwald, Fortune, "Volkswagen’s New Battery-Powered Car, the ID.3, Is a $33 Billion Risk," 9 Sep. 2019 Efforts to untangle the evolutionary biology and neurobiology of depression and suicide may offer clues to combatting them. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "My younger sister died by suicide. Can science succeed in helping others?," 20 Aug. 2019 The first volume from Image Comics — which, naturally, hits stores this November — is a complex book that will require multiple reads (and two future installments) to fully untangle. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Matt Fraction and Elsa Charretier's November puts normal people in noir circumstances," 19 July 2019 People have long sought divine guidance to untangle their chaotic lives. Laura M. Holson, Town & Country, "Marianne Williamson's Disciples Are Everywhere," 2 July 2019 But a number of fact-checkers are trying to untangle Trump's lies on top of lies about Alabama being in the path of the hurricane. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Taxpayers are funding the Trump White House's misinformation campaign," 7 Sep. 2019 Click through to untangle this web of suspects, and find out who really killed Bryce and why. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "Every Bryce Walker Murder Suspect On 13 Reasons Why Season 3," 24 Aug. 2019 New research is untangling the complex relationship between symptoms of depression and losses in memory and thinking that often emerge together with Alzheimer's disease. chicagotribune.com, "Depression, Alzheimer’s might be part of same process in some aging brains: Study," 22 Aug. 2019 Six fishermen overturn each boat, balance it on wooden planks, untangle the fishing nets and plop them in the hull. Sarah Esther Maslin, 1843, "Rio is a riot in the early hours," 4 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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Statistics for untangle

Last Updated

3 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for untangle

The first known use of untangle was in 1550

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on untangle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with untangle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for untangle

Spanish Central: Translation of untangle

Nglish: Translation of untangle for Spanish Speakers

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