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 One mystery that scientists are still unpacking is why children are less impacted by the coronavirus pandemic than adults. Fox News, "Why are children less affected by coronavirus?," 30 Apr. 2020 And because Joi’s work has been canonized by a global community, my work to unpack her work is really a citational practice. Longreads, "Funk Lessons in Sonic Solitude," 27 Apr. 2020 Never Trump’ movement — but unpacks it with immense detail. Chris Stanford, New York Times, "Coronavirus, Immigration, Kim Jong-un: Your Tuesday Briefing," 21 Apr. 2020 At some point Jacobin will need to spend an entire issue unpacking the late-capitalist propaganda of Thanks a Million, in which celebrities give cash to their less-fortunate acquaintances. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "All the Worst Parts of TV, Condensed!," 11 Apr. 2020 Of course, that would complicate the prospects of an industry that is going all in on the idea that the entourage effect, whatever its constituents and dynamics, can be unpacked and put to use in the market. New York Times, "Cannabis Scientists Are Chasing the Perfect High," 1 Apr. 2020 Your next shipment will be delivered, unpacked, and left waiting for you in your room in the same turnaround time (about 24 to 48 hours) as a regular order, as long as the name on your account matches the reservation. Kat Suico, Allure, "How Rent the Runway’s Closet Concierge Is Helping Me Break My Fast Fashion Habit," 28 Jan. 2020 Memorabilia, menu books, vinyl records and even an old game of Scrabble owned by the Beastie Boys litter the studio’s cupboards, with even more mementos still waiting to be unpacked. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, "How NYU's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music Rebuilt Oscilloscope & Tackled Online Education," 16 Dec. 2019 There is a lot in this word to unpack, and we should be forgiven for misunderstanding it as something troublesome, or merely inconvenient, although that is not what the taoiseach meant. Patrick Mulholland, National Review, "Easter Still Frames the Irish Response to Times of National Crisis," 13 Apr. 2020

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

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unpack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unpack. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for unpack


How to pronounce unpack (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unpack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unpack

Spanish Central: Translation of unpack

Nglish: Translation of unpack for Spanish Speakers

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