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

intransitive verb

: to engage in unpacking a container

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Other Words from unpack

unpacker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for unpack


disburden, discharge, disencumber, off-load, unburden, unlade, unload


load, pack

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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

There's so much to unpack here and our experts are going to explain the Democrats sudden sprint to the far left on the issue of immigration. Fox News, "Kellyanne Conway on growing calls to abolish ICE," 30 June 2018 In this op-ed, entertainment news editor Claire Dodson unpacks the news that Ariana Grande is only Coachella's fourth female headliner in the festival's nearly 20-year history. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Is Only the Fourth Woman Ever to Headline Coachella," 3 Jan. 2019 These questions are unpacked with jazzy and disaffected flair, reminiscent of Eve Babitz, Patricia Lockwood, and Lorrie Moore — but bitchier. Vox Staff, Vox, "The most thought-provoking books the Vox staff read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 When first unpacked, the DIY kit seems daunting: hundreds of tiny aluminum shafts, plastic gears and circuit boards pour onto the carpet. Joshua Fruhlinger, WSJ, "DIY Robot Kits Make Learning Fun (But Don’t Tell Your Kids That)," 12 Dec. 2018 There’s a lot to unpack in the hundreds of tweets from the four accounts that are no longer public and only available from those who archived the posts before The Ringer’s May 29 report. Sarah Todd, Philly.com, "Barbara Bottini's Twitter act cost Bryan Colangelo his job with Sixers," 7 June 2018 There’s a lot to unpack here, from dating sites specifically for flat earthers to one of the subjects’ zany DIY experiments to prove once and for all the Earth isn't round. Alex Wong, GQ, "What a Filmmaker Learned from Taking Flat Earthers Seriously," 4 June 2018 So why are some TSA officers asking travelers to unpack food from carry-on bags before putting the luggage through an X-ray scanner? Hugo Martin, latimes.com, "TSA may ask you to unpack your snacks to help unclutter your carry-on bag," 30 Mar. 2018 During the Age of Discovery, the Portuguese found new ingredients in places like Goa, Mozambique, and Malaysia, and unpacked them in Macau. Craig Cavallo, Condé Nast Traveler, "Macau, Beyond the Casino," 1 Feb. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near unpack








Statistics for unpack

Last Updated

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unpack

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on unpack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unpack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unpack

Spanish Central: Translation of unpack

Nglish: Translation of unpack for Spanish Speakers

Comments on unpack

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


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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