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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from unpack

unpacker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for unpack



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Two years ago, Plant released his latest solo album, Carry Fire, which saw him wistfully unpacking life, love, and current political affairs while returning to his love of Appalachian music. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Why Robert Plant’s Music—And Long, Curly Hair—Has Stood the Test of Time," 20 Aug. 2019 As observers unpacked the budget’s convoluted text over the subsequent weeks, unintended consequences became apparent. The Economist, "India Inc is growing disenchanted with Narendra Modi," 17 Aug. 2019 The suit says the additional district could be formed by unpacking District 7’s African-American population and combining it with cracked African-American populations in Districts 1, 2, and 3. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al, "Alabama’s federal gerrymandering trial ends," 12 Nov. 2019 Serena dropped the box on the carpet; her sisters knelt heavily beside her to unpack it, exclaiming over the contents. Tessa Hadley, The New Yorker, "The Bunty Club," 21 Oct. 2019 Some details need to be completed, but everyone understands: how long after a move are all the pictures hung or the boxes unpacked? Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors debut in the house that they — and Stephen Curry — built," 5 Oct. 2019 Harper enjoyed unpacking the sleeping bags and lighting the gas burner and cooking the dehydrated meals and packing the sleeping bags back up, but even her general enthusiasm was beaten down by hours of tramping each day. Longreads, "Tramp Like Us," 18 Sep. 2019 In her training exercises, Joseph asks SAP colleagues to unpack differences in communication and collaboration styles that are common to various generations. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Is there age bias in your workplace? These simple exercises will tell you," 16 Oct. 2019 In this multi-episode series, which runs throughout the fall, Hannah-Jones, an award-winning journalist, will unpack how enslaving Africans shaped American democracy. Cori Murray, Essence, "The C LIST: Cori's Must Sees, Dos and Reads in September," 24 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of unpack

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unpack

Time Traveler for unpack

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for unpack

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Unpack.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unpack?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=u&file=unpack01. Accessed 12 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


a period of high artistic development

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!