un·​pack | \ˌən-ˈpak \
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

In this op-ed, Deputy Editor Ella Cerón unpacks how Latinx-American communities have always feared immigration police, regardless of citizenship status or proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border. Ella Cerón, Teen Vogue, "For Latinx-American Kids, Fear of La Migra Has Always Existed," 3 July 2018 In her Elle cover story, Minaj unpacks her feelings about embracing her sexuality, and how her personal approach and attitude to infusing it into her work has changed. Hilary Hughes, Billboard, "Nicki Minaj Goes Off On Man Criticizing Her 'Hypocritical' Sexual Lyrics," 16 June 2018 In it, Stover spends two paragraphs unpacking and criticizing the woman’s picture. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "This Correction in a New York Times Article About Vagina Selfies Is Really Something," 13 July 2018 Douglas began unpacking his life in the letter to his father. Kyle Swenson, chicagotribune.com, "Indiana man missing for decades before being found in Florida thanks to ancestry website now owes abandoned family nearly $2 million," 31 May 2018 An Investigation Illustration by Alicia Tatone Two GQ staffers unpack the gym's code of silence. Clay Skipper, GQ, "Is the Gym a Good Place to Make Friends? An Investigation," 6 May 2018 Not long after Clinton unpacked his things in Chappaqua, his successor was presiding over a sputtering economy, increased poverty, and yawning deficits. Neil Swidey, BostonGlobe.com, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018 Some of that could be said about late night shows in that evening programming is supposed to be light, frothy, and help viewers unpack a bit before heading off to bed. Rachel King, Fortune, "Book Clubs Are Really Having a Moment Right Now," 2 July 2018 There’s always another interview to parse, another set of quotation marks to unpack, another set of references to dissect. Melvin Backman, GQ, "At Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh Goes Over the Rainbow," 22 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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Statistics for unpack

Last Updated

23 Oct 2018

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 \
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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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 that serves to warn or remind

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