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

One of those testifying, author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, easily unpacked and rebuked McConnell's argument. Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "While You Were Offline: The President Is Running for President, FYI," 23 June 2019 Soon after the initial ACE findings were published in 1998, neuroscientific research started to unpack the ways in which childhood trauma could land you in the hospital with heart disease at age 50. Jenny Anderson, Quartz, "The scientific effort to protect babies from trauma before it happens," 22 June 2019 Several days into the job, Cummings still hadn’t unpacked her office. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "For the first female major of IMPD's investigations division, 'the sky's the limit'," 18 June 2019 Immediately upon arrival, Patricia unpacks and hangs all of her clothing. Luzanne Otte, Town & Country, "Patricia Altschul's Very Specific Guide to Traveling in Style," 18 May 2019 There's so much to unpack, said Seiple, the cinematographer - and that helps give the video a viral quality. Sonia Rao, chicagotribune.com, "A new era of political music videos is born," 14 June 2018 As a spokesperson for Netflix explained to SELF, showrunner Brian Yorkey as well as other key players behind the show believed that there was much more to unpack regarding the untold stories of many of the secondary characters. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Here’s What 7 Mental Health Experts Really Think About ‘13 Reasons Why’," 9 May 2018 This is powerful, to unpack the complicity of those who remained silent and stood by and watched. Vanessa Gregory, New York Times, "A Lynching’s Long Shadow," 25 Apr. 2018 His goal is to unpack the role time plays in forming memories. Quanta Magazine, "New Clues to How the Brain Maps Time," 26 Jan. 2016

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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Statistics for unpack

Last Updated

3 Jul 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

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