tangle(redirected from tangly)
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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.
tangle with someone or something (over someone or something)
to battle against someone or something about someone or something. Tim tangled with Karen over the children. I hope I don't have to tangle with the bank over this loan. I don't want to tangle with city hall.
tangle with somebody/something
to disagree or fight with someone or something She's not afraid to tangle with her father. The two computer giants had tangled with each other in court several times.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of tangle (to get things mixed together so that it is difficult to separate them)
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.
To enter into argument, dispute, or conflict with someone or something: The tenants were afraid to tangle with their landlord's expensive lawyers.
tangle with someone/something
in. to quarrel or fight with someone or something. It’s like tangling with a grizzly.