• embroil •
im-broyl • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb
Meaning: 1. Entangle, embrangle, get caught up in something unpleasant. 2. (Dated) To throw in an uproar, cause a state of confusion.
Notes: No, this word has nothing to do with cooking except, maybe, cooking something up. The action noun for this verb is embroilment, and the present participle is used for an adjective, embroiling. There was a time when we could omit the prefix and just call the action just a broil.
In Play: Anything we may become tangled up in is an embroilment: "Horace has been embroiled in a cat-and-mouse game with the town council over the rusty hulks of old cars in his yard for years." Legal proceedings are a primary cause of embroilment: "Harvey Wallbanger drowned his sorrows in drink when he became embroiled in a contested divorce."
Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us from French embrouillier "jumble, confuse", based on an assimilated form of en- "in" + brouiller "quarrel, squabble" (not to be confused with bruller "to broil", the culinary term). Brouiller derived itself from Old French brooillier "to mix, mingle", from breu "broth, brew". The trail cools at this point, but it probably was borrowed from a Germanic source, such as the one that led to English brew and broth, and German Brühe "broth", all of which evolved from PIE root bhreu- "to boil, bubble". This word came up in Latin as fermentum "yeast" and fermentare "to cause to ferment", borrowed by English as ferment.
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