c. 1600, "throw into disorder," from French embrouillier "entangle, confuse, embroil" (cognate of Italian imbrogliare), from assimilated form of en- "in" (see en- (1)) + brouiller "confuse," from Old French brooillier "to mix, mingle," figuratively "to have sexual intercourse" (13c., Modern French brouiller), perhaps from breu, bro "stock, broth, brew," from Frankish or another Germanic source (compare Old High German brod "broth"), from PIE root *bhreu- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn." Compare broil (v.2). Sense of "involve in a quarrel" is first attested c. 1610. Related: Embroiled; embroiling. Embrangle "mix confusedly" is from 1660s.
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