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Something that is routinely undone and, therefore, never progresses. Refers to The Odyssey, in which Odysseus's wife Penelope weaves and unweaves Laertes's burial shroud each day, so as to avoid having to choose a suitor. (She is expected to choose a suitor after finishing the shroud.) Every day, I work on this manuscript, and every night, my boss tells me to redo most of it. It's becoming like Penelope's web.
See also: web
surf the web
To browse the various content of the Internet. With the ubiquity of affordable smartphones and computers, everyone from seniors to preschoolers is able to surf the web these days. I just worry that he spends too much time surfing the web alone instead of hanging out with other kids his age.
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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!’
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017