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A convoluted situation usually caused by some form of deception. The investigation revealed a tangled web of fraud among the members of the political party.
tangle (someone or something) up
1. Literally, to entangle or ensnare someone or something in something. Often followed by "in (something)." You have so many knots that I can't help but tangle the brush in your hair unfortunately.
2. To involve or entrap oneself or someone in something, such as an issue, problem, or scandal. Often followed by "in/with (something)." The best politicians choose their battles wisely: if one becomes too tangled up in petty debates, one never gets anything done. My brother has tangled me up with a number of lawsuits to keep me from accessing my late-father's estate.
tangled up with (someone or something)
Involved, embroiled, or entrapped with someone or something that proves to be awkward, difficult, or troublesome. I don't know why I ever got tangled up with them—they've only gotten me in trouble! His money is all tangled up with some dodgy investment firm.
tangle someone or something up
to entangle someone or something. Please don't tangle me up in your ropes. I tangled up my feet in the cords on the floor.
a tangled web
A tangled web is a situation that is very confused and difficult to understand. This is only one of a series of troubling questions that are emerging from the tangled web of evidence connected to the case. It is sometimes difficult to cut through the tangled web of government information in order to work out the benefits you can claim.
a tangled weba complex, difficult, and confusing situation or thing.
This phrase comes from Sir Walter Scott 's epic poem Marmion ( 1808 ); ‘O what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!’
1. To mix something together or intertwine it in a confused mass; snarl something: I accidentally tangled that rope up with the others. You've tangled up all the paper clips and now I can't separate them. The telephone cord is tangled up in a knot.
2. To catch and hold something in or as if in a net; entrap something: The children tangled the kite up in the branches. I tangled up the fishing lure as I was pulling it through the weeds. A dolphin became tangled up in the fishing net.
3. To involve someone in awkward or unsavory circumstances. Used chiefly in the passive: How did a good kid like you get tangled up with criminals? No politician would want to be tangled up in this sordid affair.