rav·​el | \ ˈra-vəl How to pronounce ravel (audio) \
raveled or ravelled; raveling or ravelling\ ˈrav-​liŋ How to pronounce ravel (audio) , ˈra-​və-​ \

Definition of ravel

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to become unwoven, untwisted, or unwound : fray
3 obsolete : to become entangled or confused

transitive verb

1a : to separate or undo the texture of : unravel
b : to undo the intricacies of : disentangle



Definition of ravel (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act or result of raveling: such as
a : something tangled
b : something raveled out specifically : a loose thread

Other Words from ravel


raveler \ ˈrav-​lər How to pronounce ravel (audio) , ˈra-​və-​ \ noun
ravelment \ ˈra-​vəl-​mənt How to pronounce ravel (audio) \ noun

Examples of ravel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb So somehow, Grace, Sacha and Robert end up accompanying Art and Charlotte to Norfolk, and all of their stories unravel and ravel at once. Ellen Akins, Washington Post, 14 Aug. 2020 Her eight novels, including the 2016 bestseller Commonwealth, tend to focus on families or groups raveling and unraveling over decades. Kaitlin Menza, Condé Nast Traveler, 27 Sep. 2019 Now, with many New Yorkers complaining that life in New York is raveling under Mr. Bloomberg’s progressive successor, Bill de Blasio, a top Bloomberg lieutenant is telling his version of how the city was revitalized. Edward Kosner, WSJ, 11 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ravel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ravel


circa 1540, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a


1634, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ravel


Dutch rafelen, from rafel loose thread

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Time Traveler for ravel

Time Traveler

The first known use of ravel was circa 1540

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Cite this Entry

“Ravel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ravel. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for ravel


rav·​el | \ ˈra-vəl How to pronounce ravel (audio) \
raveled or ravelled; raveling or ravelling

Kids Definition of ravel

: unravel sense 1 We raveled the net for fishing.

Ravel biographical name

Ra·​vel | \ rə-ˈvel How to pronounce Ravel (audio) , ra- \

Definition of Ravel

(Joseph) Mau*rice \ mȯ-​ˈrēs How to pronounce Ravel (audio) \ 1875–1937 French composer

Other Words from ravel

Ravelian \ rə-​ˈve-​lyən How to pronounce Ravel (audio) , ra-​ , -​lē-​ən \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on ravel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ravel

Nglish: Translation of ravel for Spanish Speakers


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