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Imbroglio

An imbroglio is a big mess of people or ideas, a complicated fight, or detailed scandal. It can sometimes be used to describe something particularly embarrassing as well. The plural is made by adding an s, imbroglios.

It comes from the Italian word imbrogliare, which means to entangle or confuse. In the English language, imbroglio has been around at least since 1750.


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According to Google’s ngram viewer, the word peaked in popularity in the 1930s but is still more frequent today than in 1880.

Examples

Even if the Falklands (Malvinas) imbroglio stays in the background of the strategic talks it’s likely that their outcome, like the recent G-20 meeting in Australia, will produce a sugar coated agreement to disagree. [Huffington Post]

Oh come on, what is an NRL pre-season without a major scandal? Would we even know if the comp was in the offing, if not for the whole cocaine imbroglio engulfing five Titans? [Sydney Morning Herald]

“After playing here and having the reputation I have in New York, everybody’s hitting me up,” he said, referring to a history of night life imbroglios that included partying with Rihanna while in the midst of a playoff series. [The New York Times]

Murphy brings us right up to date in this book, to the administration of the current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, the casus belli of the Senkaku Islands, imbroglios with South Korea, the state secrets law, and a hornet’s nest of other issues. [The Japan Times]

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