un·​spool | \ ˌən-ˈspül How to pronounce unspool (audio) \
unspooled; unspooling; unspools

Definition of unspool

transitive verb

1 : to unwind from a spool unspool the cable
2 : to execute or present artfully or gracefully unspooled a jump shot unspooling an intricate tale

intransitive verb

: to be presented or revealed on or as if on a motion-picture screen

Examples of unspool in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web With that in mind, get ready to unspool this mystery that includes a questionable photo, a fake tattoo, and a farm. Shannon Carlin, refinery29.com, "R29 Binge Club: Homecoming Season 2 Recap," 26 May 2020 The comedian Maria Bamford spent her session unspooling one long tale about a disastrous visit to the Harvard Lampoon. Lizzie Feidelson, The New Yorker, "The Intimate Laughs of Instagram Live Standup Comedy," 12 Apr. 2020 When the two got to talking, Gisin quickly saw a connection between the unspooling decimal digits of numbers in this mathematical framework and the physical notion of time in the universe. Quanta Magazine, "Does Time Really Flow? New Clues Come From a Century-Old Approach to Math.," 7 Apr. 2020 Morrey unspools Missy’s life story gradually, in between chapters about Bob and the assorted friends who take Missy under their wing. Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor, "Amid a pandemic, it’s nice to read novels about people who care," 5 May 2020 Some political-theological exegesis would be required to unspool the nature of the accomplishment. Thomas Meaneeey, Harper's Magazine, "Trumpism After Trump," 30 Mar. 2020 As night watchman, Thomas fights off sleep, he is often visited by the impish spirit of his friend Roderick, whose story unspools the cruelties of Indian schools designed to erase a people rather than educate them. Patty Rhule, USA TODAY, "Review: Louise Erdrich’s 'The Night Watchman' a rich novel of Native American family, community," 2 Mar. 2020 But, unlike the Russia investigation, which unspooled over the period of nearly two years, the Ukraine scandal is developing in real time. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "Impeachment inquiry into Trump will test power of 'fully operational' right-wing media machine," 29 Sep. 2019 Especially in Act Two, shocking personal revelations unspool with dizzying rapidity as the full extent of the damage wrought by Jones (and other difficult circumstances) spills into the open. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "‘The First Deep Breath’ at Victory Gardens is an epic exploration of an African-American family with debilitating secrets and pain," 24 Nov. 2019

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

1940, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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The first known use of unspool was in 1940

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unspool.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unspool. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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