un·​pack | \ ˌən-ˈpak How to pronounce unpack (audio) \
unpacked; unpacking; unpacks

Definition of unpack

transitive verb

1a : to remove the contents of unpack a suitcase
b : unburden, reveal must … unpack my heart with words— William Shakespeare
2 : to remove or undo from packing or a container unpacked his gear
3 : to analyze the nature of by examining in detail : explicate unpack a concept
4 : decompress sense 2 unpack a compressed file

intransitive verb

: to engage in unpacking a container

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Other Words from unpack

unpacker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for unpack



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Examples of unpack in a Sentence

It's been a year since I moved here and I still haven't unpacked all of my books. I unpacked my suitcase as soon as I arrived home. By the time we got to the hotel, I was too tired to unpack. She's good at unpacking complex concepts.
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Recent Examples on the Web The two chat with former cast members, writers, and other O.C. experts to discuss behind-the-scene details and unpack what made the show a cultural phenomenon. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "Rachel Bilson Has Loved This Bronzer Since The O.C. Days," 4 May 2021 In each episode hosts Jen Yamato, Johana Bhuiyan, Tracy Brown and Suhauna Hussain of The Times invite special guests to share personal stories and unpack identity on their own terms. Los Angeles Times, "Welcome to ‘Asian Enough,’ Season 2," 27 Apr. 2021 Time may heal all wounds but there's a lot left to unpack in her absence once the rain has subsided. Ew Staff, EW.com, "What to Watch on Tuesday: Supergirl time-travels back to 'Prom Night!'," 27 Apr. 2021 But there's a lot more about this personality trait to unpack—including that there's more than one type of narcissism. Health.com, "The 3 Types of Narcissism—and Why You Need to Know the Differences, According to Experts," 20 Apr. 2021 People begin to unpack the family story and think maybe this isn’t quite right. Lucy Alexander, Robb Report, "Why Mackenzie Scott’s $6 Billion Rapid-Fire Donations Could Change Charitable Giving," 17 Apr. 2021 Feeling the human experience will guide the process to unpack the talent experience. Christina Schmit, Forbes, "A Caring Candidate Experience: It’s All In The Communications," 15 Apr. 2021 Its characters, including a 13-year-old girl and her father, survivors of Katrina who wind up in Chicago with secrets to unpack, often seem to be serving the author’s needs instead of their own. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: A Perfect Storm of Weather and Racism in ‘shadow/land’," 13 Apr. 2021 Experts say there will be a lag as government agencies, insurers and employers unpack the bill's provisions. CBS News, "COVID-19 relief bill would bring major health cost savings to millions of people," 9 Mar. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for unpack

Time Traveler

The first known use of unpack was in the 15th century

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Statistics for unpack

Last Updated

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unpack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unpack. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for unpack



English Language Learners Definition of unpack

: to take something out of a suitcase, box, etc.
: to make (something) easier to understand by breaking it up into smaller parts that can be examined separately


un·​pack | \ ˌən-ˈpak How to pronounce unpack (audio) \
unpacked; unpacking

Kids Definition of unpack

1 : to separate and remove things that are packed Will you unpack the groceries?
2 : to open and remove the contents of I unpacked my suitcase.

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