un·​furl | \ ˌən-ˈfər(-ə)l \
unfurled; unfurling; unfurls

Definition of unfurl

transitive verb

: to release from a furled state

intransitive verb

: to open out from or as if from a furled state : unfold

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of unfurl in a Sentence

after the protestors had unfurled their banner, it stretched from one side of the visitors' gallery to the other

Recent Examples on the Web

After a three-year reprieve, Savage returns to test myths, unfurl duct tape, and get up to the tomfoolery that made fans love the original Mythbusters so much. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "Adam Savage Is Back to Bust More Myths—This Time with Six Brilliant Kids," 2 Jan. 2019 The next morning, the cardboard is unfurled and the fabric has retained its freshly pleated shape. Amy Verner, Vogue, "Vogue Got an Exclusive Tour of Chanel’s Ateliers While Tonight’s Métiers d’Art Collection Was Being Made," 5 Dec. 2018 Bystanders shared video of the aftermath on social media, showing images of smoke unfurling in the street and what appeared to be police vehicles surrounding the building in the city's Chaoyang District. Fox News, "Bomb explodes outside US Embassy in Beijing, suspect injured: report," 26 July 2018 Orange ripstop nylon glowed in the sun, creating patterns of light and shadow through her cuttings, and was stretched and unfurled by dancers at the beginning and end of the piece. Bettina Hansen, The Seattle Times, "Dance — and art — make a scene at Seattle’s Waterfront Park," 24 July 2018 The other major Hollywood studios continue to hold off unfurling their big summer pics because of Infinity War. Pamela Mcclintock, Billboard, "Weekend Box Office: 'Avengers: Infinity War' Crosses $1B in Record Time," 5 May 2018 After landing, there will still be one last big step for InSight to perform: unfurling its solar panels. Loren Grush, The Verge, "Watch NASA engineers track the harrowing landing of a spacecraft on Mars today," 26 Nov. 2018 For instance, the telescope’s 21-foot-wide segmented mirror is so large that it must be folded up for launch like a piece of origami paper, then carefully unfurled in space. Karen Kaplan, latimes.com, "If NASA can overcome human error and other problems, its James Webb Space Telescope may finally launch in 2021," 27 June 2018 Its trajectory around Saturn was both convoluted and precise, unfurling over the course of its 13-year tour like the opening petals of a blossom. Carolyn Porco, Scientific American, "Cassini at Saturn: A Retrospective," 1 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unfurl.' 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 unfurl

1641, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unfurl

Statistics for unfurl

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unfurl

The first known use of unfurl was in 1641

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unfurl



English Language Learners Definition of unfurl

: to cause (something that is folded or rolled up) to open


un·​furl | \ ˌən-ˈfərl \
unfurled; unfurling

Kids Definition of unfurl

: to open out from a rolled or folded state unfurl a flag

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on unfurl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unfurl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unfurl

Spanish Central: Translation of unfurl

Nglish: Translation of unfurl for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unfurl

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


important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

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


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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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