mid-14c., "entangle, involve," from tackle (n.). Sense of "to furnish (a ship) with tackles" is from c.1400; meaning "to harness a horse" is recorded from 1714. The meaning "lay hold of, come to grips with, attack" is attested from 1828, described by Webster that year as "a common popular use of the word in New England, though not elegant;" figurative sense of "try to deal with" (a task or problem) is from 1840. The verb in the sporting sense first recorded 1867. Related: Tackled; tackling.