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 unfold (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 Lewis is aware of the pitfalls of letting his stories unfold without injecting his own point of view. Cody Delistraty, WSJ, "Michael Lewis’s ‘The Premonition’: A Closer Look at How the Pandemic Response Went Awry," 3 May 2021 While Daniel Tiger’s stories unfold in the more familiar parts of Mister Rogers’s Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Donkey Hodie lives Someplace Else. New York Times, "‘Donkey Hodie’ Adds a Fresh Face to Fred Rogers’s World. And a Mohawk.," 2 May 2021 Inside, the gearshift folds down flat so the center stack can unfold into a useful flat surface (above) for a laptop, notepad or a table for a bag of burgers. Bill Roberson, Forbes, "Road Trip Review: Ford’s $73,000 F-150 Platinum Bathes You In Luxury But Never Forgets It’s A Truck," 27 Apr. 2021 Finding out which team agrees with him will be one of the more intriguing and pivotal developments to unfold Thursday evening when the first round of the 2021 NFL draft is held in Cleveland. Mark Craig, Star Tribune, "Small-town swag: NDSU's Trey Lance takes place among top quarterbacks in this year's NFL draft," 24 Apr. 2021 Maverick wants all of the litigation to unfold on its home turf rather than in San Antonio. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "H-E-B and Beaumont partnership's dispute over disinfecting wipes gets messier," 20 Apr. 2021 How does the mission to save Supergirl continue to unfold in this week's episode? Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "Supergirl star Katie McGrath teases how the final season ends for Lena," 20 Apr. 2021 Connor Trott's coupling continued to unfold with tears, questions of compatibility, fake proposals and a step back in their relationship. Kimi Robinson, The Arizona Republic, "'Love Island' Week 2 spoilers: Who's together, who's out, which relationship lasted 24 hours," 10 Sep. 2020 The setting is the Monte Baruca Psychiatric Prison on Christmas Eve and the events that unfold as a group of armed men attempt to capture Simón Lago, a dangerous serial killer. Nasha Smith, Forbes, "Netflix Unveils New Slate Of Spanish Series And Films," 15 Apr. 2021

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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Learn More about unfold

Time Traveler for unfold

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for unfold

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unfold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unfold. Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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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 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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Comments on unfold

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