Word of the Day: Wrangle

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Wrangle means to dispute something angrily; to argue noisily.

But now, as planners try to figure out how to build and pay for the park, and lawmakers wrangle over the details, it is starting to look as if the political battle was the easy part. (NY Times)

Caught between rasping laughter and the low moan of the phonograph, voices wrangle over the fate of Hitler’s armies, ensnared by the Russian winter, and the tactics of the United States, scrambling to defend its Pacific outposts after Pearl Harbor. (Times)

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6 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Wrangle”

  1. Environments which people “Habitate?” or “Inhabit?”

    I find the former is oozing through common practice, and I resist… though how much longer I can hold out… not sure…getting hard to…fight….

  2. Wrangle also means to round up, herd, or handle animals, usually horses or cattle.

    “Ernie was an old Mustanger,
    40 years ago or so
    He used to round ‘em up and sell ‘em by the pound
    When they were broken, lame and old
    But Ernie and his wild horse wrangle friends
    They lived an old-time cowboy code
    The built the wild herds up with purebred studs
    And let the young ones go”
    (“Run Mustang Run”, song by Lacy J. Dalton)

    “Cowboys for hire help wrangle cattle after trailer overturns on Waco traffic circle” (Waco Tribune-Herald, January 13, 2010)

    “The American Bulldog was originally used to wrangle cattle on the American frontier.” (Canada’s Guide to Dogs, American Bulldog,

    As a noun:

    “Dutch John looked other places for his treasure, too. One of the
    reported locations was near the old Scruggs ranch horse wrangle on a farm now owned by E. A. Horschler.” (The Temple [OK] Tribune, February 23, 1956)

  3. I’d always taken it to mean wrestle no to argue. Cowboys wrangle the cattle to brand them & that sort of thing. Then the inference is clear that wrangling could be adopted for other analogous terms as you’ve demonstrated here.

  4. Growing up in the West, my first thought when hearing the word wrangle regards horses. The cowboy in charge of the horses while others work the cattle is called the wrangler. I think this is what the clothing brand name is referencing.

  5. Ed B. – I grew up as a city kid in Toronto, Ontario, which is far from the West, but my first thought on the meaning of “wrangle” was also related to horses. I always associated “Wrangler” jeans with cowboys; maybe they were advertised that way?

  6. To wrangle is to wrestle into submission. This applies to the cattle, to arguments, and to numbers. (A subsidiary British use of the word wrangler is to denote a deft reckoner, a canny man with the maths – e.g. Alan M. Turing was known all through Oxbridge as a top wrangler.)

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