unfold

verb
un·​fold | \ ˌən-ˈfōld How to pronounce unfold (audio) \
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 How to pronounce unfoldment (audio) \ 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

Butte County residents also live with a tragedy whose reaches have yet to unfold — the long-term health effects of the wildfire smoke. Julia Wick, latimes.com, "Essential California: The untold aftermath of smoke pollution from the Camp fire," 12 July 2019 That process was set to unfold after the World Cup ended, with both sides said to be interested in arriving at a resolution without facing off in a courtroom. Des Bieler, courant.com, "Senate bill would block federal funds for 2026 World Cup until USWNT gets equal pay," 10 July 2019 The case began to unfold in the spring, when a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration obtained a judge's permission to collect GPS data and intercept wire and electronic communications on one of Matlock's phones. Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, "Authorities seize more than 13 kilos of cocaine at Detroit Metro Airport," 10 July 2019 Reuters/Kham Over the first weeks of July 2016, a strange phenomenon started to unfold in many parts of the world. Larissa Hjorth, Quartz, "Social workers in Spain are prescribing Pokémon Go to fight loneliness," 8 July 2019 As a result, much of the earliest research on young people and the internet sought either to support or to refute fears about what was about to unfold online. Kate Eichhorn, WIRED, "Social Media Could Make It Impossible to Grow Up," 8 July 2019 With the trial set to unfold in the weeks before Election Day, aides to Mr. Trump persuaded him not to pick Mr. Christie as his vice-presidential nominee. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Why the ‘Bridgegate’ Scandal Could Backfire on Prosecutors," 3 July 2019 However, community members have now filed court cases seeking reparations for environmental degradation, so the story continues to unfold. Holly Eva Ryan, Quartz Africa, "Anti-Chinese protests in a Gambian fishing village show conflict of foreign investment in Africa," 27 June 2019 The courtroom drama continued to unfold as Parlatore—a tall, physical imposing Navy veteran -- stood facing the navy prosecutor seated inches from him, accusing prosecutors of stopping short of ever asking Scott what the cause of death was. Greg Norman, Fox News, "Medic testifies that he, not Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, was responsible for ISIS fighter's death," 20 June 2019

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

15 Jul 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 How to pronounce unfold (audio) \
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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