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wran·​gle ˈraŋ-gəl How to pronounce wrangle (audio)
wrangled; wrangling ˈraŋ-g(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce wrangle (audio)

intransitive verb

: to dispute angrily or peevishly : bicker
: to engage in argument or controversy

transitive verb

: to obtain by persistent arguing or maneuvering : wangle
[back-formation from wrangler] : to herd and care for (livestock and especially horses) on the range


2 of 2


: an angry, noisy, or prolonged dispute or quarrel
: the action or process of wrangling
Choose the Right Synonym for wrangle

quarrel, wrangle, altercation, squabble mean a noisy dispute usually marked by anger.

quarrel implies heated verbal contention, stressing strained or severed relations which may persist beyond the contention.

a quarrel nearly destroyed the relationship

wrangle suggests undignified and often futile disputation with a noisy insistence on differing opinions.

wrangle interminably about small issues

altercation implies fighting with words as the chief weapon, although it may also connote blows.

a loud public altercation

squabble stresses childish and unseemly dispute over petty matters, but it need not imply bitterness or anger.

a brief squabble over what to do next

Examples of wrangle in a Sentence

Verb They were wrangling over money. He made a living wrangling horses. Noun They had a bitter wrangle over custody of their children. there was a bit of a wrangle over how much money to give the high school for its sports programs
Recent Examples on the Web
But the number of expatriates in China has plummeted in recent years, making wrangling enough foreigners who could speak stage-worthy Mandarin — a small pool to begin with — even more difficult. Claire Fu, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 Catherine, who was 12 years Hogarth’s senior, was grateful for another pair of hands to help wrangle her four young children, who just so happened to adore their aunt. Ellen Wexler, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Feb. 2024 Lartigue then managed to wrangle the fish onto the bank. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 14 Feb. 2024 Residents in a town near Denver spotted the llamas running through the snowy streets before Wheat Ridge police showed up to wrangle them, the department said on Facebook. Brooke Baitinger, Idaho Statesman, 5 Feb. 2024 Feeling inspired to wrangle the weather through intentional design choices? Kristin Guy, Sunset Magazine, 30 Jan. 2024 That means this year, taxpayers in that situation don’t necessarily have a bunch of 1099-Ks to wrangle up. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 29 Jan. 2024 The film unearths unseen footage and features new interviews about the single night that songwriters Richie, 74, and the late Jackson had to wrangle dozens of A-listers into one studio to record their song in support of famine relief in Africa. Abby Stern, Peoplemag, 31 Jan. 2024 House Republican leaders struggled to wrangle hard-right opposition and managed to pass only six of 12 annual appropriations measures on near-perfect party lines while repeatedly punting deadlines for a government shutdown (and deposing former Speaker Kevin McCarthy in the process). Tia Yang, ABC News, 29 Jan. 2024
Husband and father Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) uproots an oversized Christmas tree, decorates his house with enough lights to cause a citywide power outage, and wrangles annoying family members, all in the hope of forcing a perfect, magical Christmas where nothing goes wrong. Andrew Walsh, EW.com, 12 Dec. 2023 Read Next Watch snake catcher wrangle one of world’s most venomous snakes from roof in Australia January 19, 2024 12:40 PM This story was originally published January 22, 2024, 10:47 AM. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 2 Feb. 2024 Edward Lucas, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, wrote on Sunday that petty wrangles over rules had spiraled out of control. Marc Santora, New York Times, 7 Dec. 2023 But the president’s message was much broader than the wrangle over funding, and his real target was the American public. Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times, 22 Oct. 2023 Congressional reporters tracked the interns’ progress on Twitter, now known as X. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) offered to help the group wrangle Senate leadership. Daniel Wu, Washington Post, 31 July 2023 While Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter could be a strong consideration here, there's still a case for Wilson, who can deploy his massive 6-6, 271-pound frame to push the pocket or wrangle running backs in the backfield. Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz, USA TODAY, 17 Apr. 2023 Carlsberg’s Russian wrangle Carlsberg announced plans to sell its Russia business in 2022, just months after the Ukraine war began. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune, 17 Aug. 2023 DeSantis wants out of his legal wrangle with Disney In April, Disney sued DeSantis for using his power as Florida governor to strip the company's ability to self-govern the 25,000-acre site of its Walt Disney World amusement parks in Orlando. Kayla Jimenez, USA TODAY, 14 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wrangle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English; akin to Old High German ringan to struggle — more at wring

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of wrangle was in the 14th century

Cite this Entry

“Wrangle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wrangle. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
wran·​gle ˈraŋ-gəl How to pronounce wrangle (audio)
wrangled; wrangling -g(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce wrangle (audio)
: to have an angry quarrel
: to take part in an argument
: to herd and care for livestock and especially horses on the range


2 of 2 noun
: an angry, noisy, or lengthy dispute or quarrel

More from Merriam-Webster on wrangle

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