unfold

verb
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

While the plot unfolds, the film subtly showcases Vince’s alluring new collection—clothes in cashmere, wools, and silks—which is made for movement. Vogue, "If You Loved The OA, You'll Love Vince's New Film for Spring ’19," 5 Feb. 2019 This coalition of mothers believes the epidemic is unfolding much like AIDS did, with a society indifferent toward people believed to have brought their deaths upon themselves. Claire Galofaro, The Seattle Times, "Moms of the dead from drugs: “Where is the outrage for us?”," 29 Jan. 2019 When the December controversy unfolded, the author of the 2015 Rolling Stone profile, Jonah Weiner, circulated portions of the full interview transcript, including on-the-record remarks which hadn’t been published in the piece. Aja Romano, Vox, "Why the Kevin Hart Oscars backlash is different from other recent public shamings," 5 Jan. 2019 Officers with rifles blocked off the area around where Sunday's shooting unfolded. Frank Miles, Fox News, "3 Kansas City, Missouri, cops shot; gunman killed in standoff with police, officials say," 2 Oct. 2018 Watch all the drama unfold on Friday, November 16, at 10 p.m. EST on CBS. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Next Week's 'Blue Bloods' Shows Erin and Frank Reagan Clash in Most Intense Episode Yet," 9 Nov. 2018 The Other Side of the Wind unfolds on two planes at once. Keith Phipps, The Verge, "Netflix’s Orson Welles revival is strange, fascinating, and frustrating," 1 Nov. 2018 Within its walls, I’m quietly buffered from the bustle that unfolds on the 135-acre estate. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "How a French Prince Is Saving the World From Tasteless Tomatoes," 17 Sep. 2018 The action unfolds on what is essentially a concert stage framed with rotating lights. Daryl H. Miller, latimes.com, "Review: 'On Your Feet!,' the Gloria and Emilio Estefan story, sets rhythms in irresistible motion," 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

11 Feb 2019

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

unfold

verb

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

unfold

verb
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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More from Merriam-Webster on unfold

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unfold

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unfold

Spanish Central: Translation of unfold

Nglish: Translation of unfold for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unfold for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unfold

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