unreel

verb

un·​reel ˌən-ˈrēl How to pronounce unreel (audio)
unreeled; unreeling; unreels

transitive verb

1
: to unwind from a reel
2
: to perform successfully
unreeled a 66-yard pass play
3
: reel off sense 2
unreeled five birdies in a row

intransitive verb

1
: to become unwound
2
: to be presented
the dress rehearsal unreeled flawlessly

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Astronomers enlist surrogate measures all the time, since there is no way to stick thermometers in stars or to unreel tape measures to other galaxies. David H. Freedman, Discover Magazine, 9 Dec. 2010 This isn’t Donald Trump being belligerent to reporters, or Gavin Newsom unreeling state policy with wonkish ease. John King, SFChronicle.com, 17 Apr. 2020 Anastasia breaks with Grey at the end of the first film, when his sadistic impulses unreel a bit too far for her taste, and the two reconcile in Fifty Shades Darker. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 9 Feb. 2018 Why Nora has returned now is soon made abundantly clear by Hnath, who cannily unreels one inventive and plausible surprise after another in a text as fast-moving as the original is deliberate. Eric Marchese, Orange County Register, 17 Apr. 2017 A horizontal trailing wire antenna is unreeled out of the back, sort of like casting a fishing line. Nathan Hodge, WIRED, 27 May 2010

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'unreel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1567, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of unreel was in 1567

Dictionary Entries Near unreel

Cite this Entry

“Unreel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unreel. Accessed 27 May. 2023.

Kids Definition

unreel

verb
un·​reel ˌən-ˈrē(ə)l How to pronounce unreel (audio)
ˈən-
: to unwind from or as if from a reel
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