I wondered if describing bushes as a 'tangle', whether it is a form of personification. (if it is it would be anthropomorphism). As humans frequently get tangled, surely this is just a word that we use to describe nature, but actually originates from humans? (Another example would be an animal standing on its hind legs)

Or as the bushes are literally tangled, is it just an adjective?

  • The human standpoint is the only one we have for addressing the world. If a context would tangle humans, that's its main characteristic. Jul 27, 2016 at 17:03
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    No, I think it's a fishing-line-o-morphism. Jul 27, 2016 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


No, a tangle is not necessarily anthropomorphism.

A tangle is defined in Oxford Online as:

A confused mass of something twisted together

Where confused means:

Lacking clear distinction of elements; jumbled:

Describing a "tangle of bushes" does not require the bushes to have human qualities or suggest that the bushes have human qualities. There is no personification or anthropomorphism there. A longer quote of the passage may show something else that does suggest those devices.

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    To expand slightly upon this answer, if one were to describe the aforementioned shrubbery as "a malevolent tangle of bushes" that would require personification, but not anthropomorphism as it does not describe the bush as having arms or legs. If one were to say "a malevolent tangle of bushes reaching it's thorny hands for your throat" that would require both personification and anthropomorphism.
    – Nathan
    Jul 27, 2016 at 17:45
  • @Nathan And the services of a thorough gardener! Jul 27, 2016 at 17:59

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