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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web While the campaign to slander FDR’s intraparty antagonist started to unfold, the president was trying to protect one of his closest advisers from the same charge. James Kirchick, Washington Post, 15 June 2022 Over the weekend, mass shootings continued to unfold, many of which drew little national attention. Mitch Smith, BostonGlobe.com, 6 June 2022 Legal developments continue to unfold against the backdrop of Pennsylvania's Republican primary recount, which officials must complete in less than a week. Alisa Wiersema, ABC News, 1 June 2022 Another reason to sell is if something in the story fails to unfold as expected, the story changes or fundamentals deteriorate. Charles Rotblut, Forbes, 26 May 2022 Complex legal investigations often take several years to unfold in France. New York Times, 26 May 2022 The details of the attack were continuing to unfold a day after 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. this year. Sadie Gurman, WSJ, 25 May 2022 The saga continued to unfold mid-day on Monday, when Halsey tweeted that they were feeling blocked on all sides — still without a release date and seemingly labeled a liar by some — while doubling-down on a promise of radical honesty. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 23 May 2022 Check back here for more details as details of the wedding plans continue to unfold. Leah Campano, Seventeen, 20 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of unfold

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

Learn More About unfold

Time Traveler for unfold

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near unfold




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for unfold

Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Unfold.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unfold. Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for unfold


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on unfold

Nglish: Translation of unfold for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unfold for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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