un·fold | \ ˌən-ˈfōld \
unfolded; unfolding; unfolds

Definition of unfold 

transitive verb

1a : to open the folds of : spread or straighten out : expand unfolded the map

b : to remove (something, such as a package) from the folds : unwrap

2 : to open to the view : reveal especially : to make clear by gradual disclosure and often by recital

intransitive verb

1a : to open from a folded state : open out : expand

b : blossom

2 : develop, evolve as the story unfolds

3 : to open out gradually to the view or understanding : become known a panorama unfolds before their eyes

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Other words from unfold

unfoldment \ˌən-ˈfōl(d)-mənt \ noun

Examples of unfold in a Sentence

The couch unfolds to form a bed. We'll have more news as events unfold. We watched the drama unfold on live television. As the story unfolds, we learn that the boy became an orphan when he was one year old.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The dramatic scene unfolded around the corner from the office of Cataldo Ambulance, which rushed the firefighters to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Carli said. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, "‘He was totally engulfed in flames’: Witnesses recount blaze that injured two Everett firefighters," 14 July 2018 The current unfolding incident in the U.K. suggests otherwise. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Innovative project harnesses Legos and smartphones in the fight against invisible, deadly weapons," 13 July 2018 The homegrown bowl -- which unfolds each season at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale -- has extended its agreement with the College Football Playoff for six seasons through 2026. Doug Haller, azcentral, "Fiesta Bowl extends agreement with College Football Playoff through 2026," 13 July 2018 The suspect, who had been reported to police prior to the stabbing as acting erratically, was fatally shot within minutes of the stabbing, and the entire situation unfolded just 200 yards from the set of Haunt. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Real-Life Horror Hits Indie Film Set," 13 July 2018 Millions, at home and in public, were glued to televisions and giant video screens, to events unfolding thousands of miles away. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Four Countries. Two Games. One Goal.," 12 July 2018 Today marks the fifth season for the battle royale game, which follows a one-time rocket launch event that added a huge crack in the sky and plenty of unfolding mysteries to solve. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Fortnite season 5 introduces temporal rifts, golf carts, and new locations," 12 July 2018 Meanwhile, Shannon and Cynthia Strunk were watching the drama unfold from their home across the street. Meghan Overdeep, ajc, "Mississippi couple hosts wedding in their home after strangers’ beach ceremony was rained out," 12 July 2018 Officers chuckled at the scene unfolding at Camp Courant as part of its annual Law Enforcement Day on Wednesday. Alison Kuznitz, courant.com, "Giving Back To Hartford Youth, Police Departments Statewide Attend 'Law Enforcement Day' At Camp Courant," 11 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of unfold

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for unfold

Last Updated

23 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unfold

The first known use of unfold was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for unfold



English Language Learners Definition of unfold

: to spread or cause (something) to spread or straighten out from a folded position

: to happen as time passes

: to be told or made known


un·fold | \ ˌən-ˈfōld \
unfolded; unfolding

Kids Definition of unfold

1 : to open the folds of : open up Carefully unfold the map.

2 : to lay open to view or understanding : reveal … Roscuro went on unfolding, step by step, his diabolical plan … —Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux

3 : to develop gradually We learn the secret as the story unfolds.

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Comments on unfold

What made you want to look up unfold? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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