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tangle up

1. To become tangled. I store each strand of Christmas lights in a separate bag so they don't all tangle up.
2. To entangle or ensnare someone or something in something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tangle" and "up," and the phrase is often followed by "in (something)." You have so many knots that I can't help but tangle the brush up in your hair. Spiders try to tangle up their prey in their webs.
3. To involve or entrap oneself or someone in something, such as an issue, problem, or scandal. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "tangle" and "up," and the phrase is often followed by "in/with (something)." The best politicians choose their battles wisely and avoid becoming too tangled up in petty debates. My brother has tangled me up with a number of lawsuits to keep me from accessing our late father's estate.
See also: tangle, up

tangle with (someone or something)

To fight, argue, or engage in a dispute with someone or something. I wouldn't tangle with them if I were you. They've got so much money that you'll never stand a chance in court. My brother always had a habit of tangling with kids much bigger than him. Trust me, she is not one to tangle with.
See also: tangle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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.
See also: tangle, up

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.
See also: tangle
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

tangle up

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.
See also: tangle, up

tangle with

To enter into argument, dispute, or conflict with someone or something: The tenants were afraid to tangle with their landlord's expensive lawyers.
See also: tangle
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

tangle with someone/something

in. to quarrel or fight with someone or something. It’s like tangling with a grizzly.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
(These two modular operations can be partitioned due to the matrix structure which, roughly speaking, avoids the tangly modulus problem existent in [22].) This principle also applies to addition between two matrices over [Z.sup.nxN.sub.q] [x] [Z.sup.m.sub.p]).
A third on to the green and two putts were all that were now needed, but he went long into tangly rough and was almost in shock when he completed the finish of his life by chipping in.
His third shot, a chip from tangly rough, ran over the green, his chip back ran four feet past the hole and he pulled the putt.
Last year the 155-yard 12th, with water at the front and a wicked bunker at the back as well as tangly undergrowth to the left, cost Jeff Maggert the Green Jacket.
He turns up at Valderrama, digs one out of the thick tangly rough, and the wrist goes again.
He even used that F word that many of us employ when ploughing through tangly rough looking for a ball.
His 6- iron approach tugged slightly left, and onto a fringe of tangly grass.
His ball was deep in the tangly rough and he blasted out to 40 feet and three-putted.
He is a tough competitor with a great fairways-and-greens game and, above all, terrific patience, a prime asset at St George's, where you can hit what you think is the perfect shot, only to find it in tangly rough.
Staying on the narrow fairways and out of the tangly greenside rough that will strangle Phil Mickelson's showboating parachute shots has always been big Col's forte.
Monty last night got a 7-4 quote from Hills, though Ladbrokes went a more realistic looking 4-1, while Woods was pushed out to 7-2 after a disappointing par round of 71 that was littered with visits to tangly rough and bunkers - it took him only 11 shots to find one of the 196 traps strewn over this historic Lancashire links.
second shot into the thick, tangly rough behind the green and after enlisting enthusiastic spectators to help find his ball, the little white object was found just on the stroke of the five-minute limit by, would you believe, Gary's caddie, Rabbit Dyer.
They have fixed it so that the fairways are almost Indian-file and bounded by thick, tangly Bermuda rough.