un·​leash | \ ˌən-ˈlēsh How to pronounce unleash (audio) \
unleashed; unleashing; unleashes

Definition of unleash

transitive verb

1 : to free from or as if from a leash : let loose unleash the dogs unleashing his anger
2 : to throw, shoot, or set in motion forcefully unleashed a superb shot … to earn his side a pointThe New York Times

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of unleash in a Sentence

The storm unleashed its fury. The editorial unleashed a torrent of angry responses.

Recent Examples on the Web

Finding the right paths to unleash this power is going to be one of your life’s challenges. Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "What I Learned From Having an On-Call Astrologer for a Week," 1 Apr. 2019 Officials said the Taliban unleashed a number of attacks elsewhere in the country in the past 24 hours ahead of a two-day meeting of Islamic scholars from around the world. Sayed Salahuddin, BostonGlobe.com, "Fresh violence kills over 15 in Afghanistan as Islamic scholars debate Taliban war," 11 July 2018 Officials said the Taliban also unleashed attacks elsewhere in the country in the hours before a two-day meeting of Islamic scholars from around the world that began Tuesday in Saudi Arabia. Washington Post, "World Digest: July 10, 2018," 10 July 2018 But arguably the most remarkable development is that the rise in the oil price has not yet unleashed a flood of new shale-oil supply, as many market experts had predicted (and Mr Hamm had feared). The Economist, "American shale-oil producers are on a roll," 10 May 2018 That means a small girl of 40 pounds could unleash the energy of 10 suns shining on the earth in a second. Lisa Einstein, Scientific American, "Unleashing the Energy Trapped within Undereducated Girls," 1 May 2018 Inclusion is the name of this game, and these fashion and beauty brands boast a wide selection of modern and chic styles that allow everyone to unleash their inner cool girl. Allure, "10 Muslim-Owned Fashion and Beauty Brands You Need to Know," 27 Mar. 2019 But the operation exacted a terrible price in January when a tailings dam burst, unleashing a torrent of mud and debris. Luciana Magalhaes, WSJ, "‘It’s Easier to Count the Living’: Disaster Shakes Brazil’s Faith in Mining," 5 Feb. 2019 All right, the war of words hits a whole new level as President Trump unleashes on the media in one of his fiercest attacks yet. Fox News, "Trump lashes out at media in fiery attack," 30 Aug. 2018

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

circa 1671, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unleash

Dictionary Entries near unleash








Statistics for unleash

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unleash

The first known use of unleash was circa 1671

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for unleash



English Language Learners Definition of unleash

: to allow or cause (something very powerful) to happen suddenly
: to remove a leash from (an animal) so that it can freely run, attack someone, etc.


un·​leash | \ ˌən-ˈlēsh How to pronounce unleash (audio) \
unleashed; unleashing

Kids Definition of unleash

: to free from or as if from a leash A storm unleashed its fury.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on unleash

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unleash

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unleash

Spanish Central: Translation of unleash

Nglish: Translation of unleash for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unleash for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unleash

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

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!