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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Blissfully unaware of what was unfolding was 1-year-old Herman, Pettersen’s first child who was also among the thousands around the 18th green at Gleneagles. BostonGlobe.com, "The putt was from 7 feet, slightly left to right, and it never looked like missing.," 17 Sep. 2019 Now, a battle is unfolding between two of the most revered names in the automobile world, Porsche and Tesla, on one of the world’s most challenging race tracks. Los Angeles Times, "Porsche, Tesla face off for electric-vehicle crown on famed German race track," 13 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, another contest with implications for both the 2020 election and our collective future will be unfolding. Jim Lardner, The New Yorker, "Something for the Democrats to Try at the Debates: a Little Togetherness," 12 Sep. 2019 Now, McMillon was told, a new crisis was unfolding: There was an active shooter in a Walmart store in El Paso. Fortune, "Walmart CEO: ‘You’ve Got to Be Able to Manage Change’," 19 Aug. 2019 Inside the now mostly collapsed dwelling, an intense tug-of-war was unfolding. Allyson Chiu, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Like ... a horror movie’: Camper saves family from wolf attack in Canada’s Banff National Park," 14 Aug. 2019 Inside the now mostly collapsed dwelling, an intense tug-of-war was unfolding. The Washington Post, oregonlive.com, "Man saves N.J. family of 4 from savage wolf attack in Canada," 14 Aug. 2019 The curfew, crackdown & impending genocide of Kashmiris in IOK is unfolding exactly acc to RSS ideology inspired by Nazi ideology. Helen Regan And Sophia Saifi, CNN, "Pakistan's Imran Khan likens India's actions in Kashmir to Nazism," 12 Aug. 2019 Based on that name-drop and Jean's Game Boy console, the story is unfolding in the early '90s — as Italian audiences surely will deduce from the pop songs that spark car sing-alongs and celebratory dancing in key scenes. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Magari' ('If Only'): Film Review | Locarno 2019," 8 Aug. 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.

See More

First Known Use of unfold

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unfold

Statistics for unfold

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unfold

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!