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

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 Still others hope to untangle the relationship between genetics, viruses and the microbiome, the complex ecosystem of microorganisms that live inside our organs and digestive systems. AZCentral.com, 5 May 2022 But for some mothers-to-be, their time was too near, the danger of fleeing too great, the complex calculus of risk impossible to untangle. Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2022 And scientists have only begun to untangle how these materials interfere with deep-sea food webs and the ocean’s natural carbon cycles. New York Times, 3 Apr. 2022 In Jerusalem, the desires for knowledge, wealth and sanctity were hard to untangle. Andrew Lawler, Scientific American, 1 Apr. 2022 Alfred narrowly escapes with his life and embarks on a harrowing yet transformative journey through the woods — and symbolically his dark and knotty mind — that forces him to untangle his conflicted feelings about fame. Darren Franich, EW.com, 22 Mar. 2022 Many oligarchs use shell companies that shield their ownership, leaving authorities to untangle a layer of companies before discovering the true owner. Kara Scannell And Jessica Schneider, CNN, 5 Mar. 2022 At the population level, that confusion will make the occurrence and types of long Covid more difficult to untangle. Maryn Mckenna, Wired, 24 Nov. 2021 Alas, no one expects supply chains to untangle any time soon. Allison Mcneely, Bloomberg.com, 19 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of untangle

1550, in the meaning defined above

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best hair straighteners.

Learn More About untangle

Time Traveler for untangle

Time Traveler

The first known use of untangle was in 1550

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near untangle




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for untangle

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Untangle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/untangle. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for untangle


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

Nglish: Translation of untangle for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!