unravel

verb
un·​rav·​el | \ˌən-ˈra-vəl \
unraveled; unraveling; unravels

Definition of unravel 

transitive verb

1a : to disengage or separate the threads of : disentangle

b : to cause to come apart by or as if by separating the threads of

2 : to resolve the intricacy, complexity, or obscurity of : clear up unravel a mystery

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Examples of unravel in a Sentence

Scientists are still unraveling the secrets of DNA. Their plans unraveled when she lost her job. His frequent absences from home caused his marriage to unravel. I feel like my life is unraveling.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Gilpin excels as both Liberty Belle and Debbie, as the character grows more self-assured professionally despite her personal life unraveling. Bonnie Stiernberg, Glamour, "If Betty Gilpin Doesn't Get an Emmy for GLOW, It's a Crime," 6 July 2018 Alex had barely seen any of his friends since the raid, but their text messages told the story of families unraveling. Eli Saslow, Anchorage Daily News, "Raids are separating families in the heartland," 1 July 2018 Alex had barely seen any of his friends since the raid, but their text messages told the story of families unraveling. Eli Saslow, chicagotribune.com, "ICE raids are separating families in America's heartland," 1 July 2018 The first came at the start of Obama’s second term, when the promises of the Arab Spring were unravelling. George Packer, The New Yorker, "Witnessing the Obama Presidency, from Start to Finish," 5 June 2018 This city is unraveling fast: Water doesn’t reach most homes, mass transit is grinding to a halt and businesses are closing in the face of hyperinflation expected to top 13,000% this year. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "The Lights Have Gone Out in Caracas," 13 May 2018 Trying to let the players figure things out, the Sixers didn’t call a timeout while things were unraveling at the end of the half. Keith Pompey, Philly.com, "Sixers blow 22-point lead, lose to Celtics to fall behind 2-0 in NBA playoffs series," 5 May 2018 Image The federal government on Thursday mounted a new effort to unravel AT&T’s deal with Time Warner, a blockbuster merger that has already started to reshape the media industry. New York Times, "AT&T-Time Warner Deal Approval Gets Justice Department Challenge," 12 July 2018 Alex had barely seen any of his friends since the raid, but their text messages told the story of families unraveling. Eli Saslow, Anchorage Daily News, "Raids are separating families in the heartland," 1 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unravel.' 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 unravel

1603, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for unravel

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unravel

The first known use of unravel was in 1603

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More Definitions for unravel

unravel

verb

English Language Learners Definition of unravel

: to cause the separate threads of something to come apart

: to find the correct explanation for (something that is difficult to understand)

: to fail or begin to fail

unravel

verb
un·​rav·​el | \ˌən-ˈra-vəl \
unraveled or unravelled; unraveling or unravelling

Kids Definition of unravel

1 : to separate the threads of : untangle

2 : solve She unraveled the mystery.

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More from Merriam-Webster on unravel

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unravel

Spanish Central: Translation of unravel

Nglish: Translation of unravel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unravel for Arabic Speakers

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