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 Blunt has sought to help untangle Enright’s immigration quandary, Scott said, but has yet to get results. Manuel Roig-franzia, Washington Post, "A British actor left Hollywood to fight ISIS. Now he’s marooned in Belize. It’s quite a story.," 15 Oct. 2019 While untangling the impact of the clause may be a bit of a sticky wicket, that’s not the only legal question. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "St. Paul’s trash contract has an ‘acts of God’ clause. Would a ballot defeat count?," 5 Oct. 2019 Truesdell was still untangling himself from the pile where Verdell was brought down while the defensive backs went wild, running down the field with their arms in the air. Giana Han, al, "Things are ‘goin’ good’ for Tyrone Truesdell," 18 Sep. 2019 This publication history is elegantly untangled by Mr. Curran, whose clear style and interest in the psychology of it all transforms it into a lively narrative. Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, "‘Diderot’ Review: Wherever His Mind Led Him," 15 Feb. 2019 For years, his father’s presence was required, to bait the hook or untangle the line or take apart the reel to see what was wrong inside. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "The story of the 6-year-old boy who made his dad take him fishing," 15 June 2019 Everyone had to make ends meet, from the poorest men who untangled nets to the district fisheries officer who watched over the landing site, and catching fish was one of scant few ways to bring capital into the community. Alec Jacobson, National Geographic, "Fishermen fight to survive on the world's second largest lake," 3 May 2019 Kirwan recalls how Ocasek could listen quietly as the musicians worked themselves into a knot, and then offer a simple suggestion that instantly untangled them. Eric R. Danton, Fortune, "Just What I Needed: Beyond The Cars, Ric Ocasek Also Left a Producing Legacy," 17 Sep. 2019 Photo: Kin Cheung/Associated Press As more companies flagged economic weakness in China in their fourth-quarter results, investors and analysts have worked to untangle the impact on U.S. companies and economic sectors. Theo Francis, WSJ, "How Bad Is the China Slowdown? U.S. Companies Offer Some Answers," 11 Feb. 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

14 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for untangle

The first known use of untangle was in 1550

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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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