unravel

verb
un·​rav·​el | \ ˌən-ˈra-vəl How to pronounce unravel (audio) \
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

The looming dispute about military doctrine, military spending and procurement is just one of many now rocking Ms. Merkel’s coalition—a government many analysts think could unravel as early as this year. Bojan Pancevski, WSJ, "In Germany, a Cold War Deal to Host U.S. Nuclear Weapons Is Now in Question," 12 Feb. 2019 Zimmermann said of why things unraveled so quickly. George Sipple, Detroit Free Press, "What Jordan Zimmermann's return from DL could mean to Detroit Tigers," 16 June 2018 Still, pull at the threads and this picture of quiet anonymity begins to unravel. Mikael Jansson, Vogue, "14 Countries, 14 Superstars: The Global Actors Who Know No Limits," 14 Mar. 2019 This blunder sets the town’s Catholic community against him, and the fabric of his life begins to unravel. Jamie James, WSJ, "‘John O’Hara: Four Novels of the 1930s’ Review: Big Fish in Small Towns," 3 Jan. 2019 The year had barely begun before Khosrowshahi’s plans began to unravel. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Uber," 29 Dec. 2018 In the hours that followed, students began to unravel. John Woodrow Cox, The Seattle Times, "Numerous school lockdowns are traumatizing the nation’s children," 26 Dec. 2018 By 2011 under Medvedev, as the fallout from the financial crisis hit Russia hard, that deal was beginning to unravel. Daniel Beer, New York Times, "Does Vladimir Putin Speak for the Russian People?," 6 July 2018 After misleading investigators for three days, Alden begins to unravel: DET. CBS News, "Did a missing Army nurse fall prey to a serial killer targeting military women?," 26 June 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

8 May 2019

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 How to pronounce unravel (audio) \
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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