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

The documentary focuses on the chilling tapes, recorded in prison, mentioned in Michaud's book, and unpacks Bundy's murder and mutilation of more than 30 women during the 1970s. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "Elizabeth Kendall's Ted Bundy Memoir Is the Inspiration Behind the New Netflix Film," 3 May 2019 That cuts the cost to Amazon of unpacking inbound shipments, and reduces the amount of packaging the company needs to dedicate to keep items from breaking during the journey to customers’ doorsteps. Matt Day, The Seattle Times, "Amazon investing $10 million to boost U.S. recycling rate," 16 Oct. 2018 But in lieu of that, unpacking the dimensions of Detroit's beauty choices with Coleman was a more than welcome alternative, and one that adds another layer onto Thompson's character. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "The Hidden Message in Tessa Thompson's Sorry to Bother You Makeup," 1 Aug. 2018 It's been 20 years since the archaeological site of Troy earned its UNESCO World Heritage status, and a new museum onsite, with more than 150 exhibits unpacking its story, will open later this year. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Travel in June," 9 May 2018 At the moment, this kind of work on the nuts and bolts of what enables social behavior remains separate from the research by Kennedy and others unpacking the evolutionary pressures that triggered it. Jordana Cepelewicz, Scientific American, "The Elusive Calculus of Insect Altruism," 26 Apr. 2018 The top-tier villa also includes private balconies, three, four-passenger gold carts, a car, daily breakfast, and personal butler, bartender, and even packing and even unpacking services, Architectural Digest reported. Neesha Arter, ELLE Decor, "Inside Casa de Campo, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez's Dreamy Vacation Villa," 24 Apr. 2017 In a crisis, a DABS set would be put aboard C-17 Globemaster III transports, hauled to a friendly military or even civilian airfield, and unpacked by airmen to create an instant airbase. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Air Force Is Having Trouble With Its 'Base in a Box'," 2 Jan. 2019 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

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

8 May 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).


something valued as if it were money

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