un·wind | \ˌən-ˈwīnd \
unwound\ˌən-ˈwau̇nd \; unwinding

Definition of unwind 

transitive verb

1a : to cause to uncoil : wind off : unroll

b : to free from or as if from a binding or wrapping

c : to release from tension : relax

2 archaic : to trace to the end unwinding the labryinth and bringing the hero out— Laurence Sterne

3 : to undo (a financial arrangement or position) through the necessary legal or financial steps unwound most of its natural gas hedgesThe New York Times

intransitive verb

1 : to become uncoiled or disentangled : unfold

2 : to become released from tension take a bath to unwind

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Synonyms & Antonyms for unwind


chill, chill out [slang], de-stress, decompress, loosen up, mellow (out), relax, wind down


tense (up)

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Examples of unwind in a Sentence

She unwound some thread from the spool. The fishing line unwound quickly. I wanted to unwind after a hard day.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Whatever the activity, just keep the numbers relatively small — the goal is to create a more intimate, relaxed setting, one where people can unwind a little bit from all the hubbub. Cari Romm, The Cut, "How to Actually Have Fun at Your College Reunion," 15 June 2018 Rick Siskey's victims have been waiting more than a year and a half to get any of their money back in a complex case being unwound in federal bankruptcy court. Rick Rothacker, charlotteobserver, "Proposed settlement in Rick Siskey Ponzi case would bring first payments to victims," 1 June 2018 Built on working cattle and livestock, the ranch also has a luxury resort where customers can unwind at a day spa, horseback ride across the great outdoors or play on a seven-hole golf course. Zahid Mahmood, CNN, "The world's first goat golf caddies," 14 May 2018 Nestlé and L’Oréal have been moving to unwind their relationship in recent years. Brian Blackstone, WSJ, "Investors Wonder What’s Next for L’Oréal and Nestlé After Bettencourt Death," 22 Sep. 2017 After a long day at the office, downtown workers should soon have a new way to unwind — ax throwing. Kyle Arnold, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Ax-throwing joint coming to downtown Orlando," 10 July 2018 The change won't happen overnight; all of these companies have long-term contracts to unwind. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "Security News This Week: Carriers Stop Selling Location Data in a Rare Privacy Win," 23 June 2018 After the ruling, the FTC and the Whole Foods reached a settlement that required the company to sell off some stores but not unwind the entire transaction. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "AT&T Closes Time Warner Deal, as DOJ Doesn’t Ask for Delay," 14 June 2018 Instead, visitors come here to unwind amid nature by watching puffins and seals, admiring wildflowers, and taking in the white-sand beaches at Shell Beach. Condé Nast Traveler, "Car-Free Destinations for Your Next Island Vacation," 1 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Statistics for unwind

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for unwind

The first known use of unwind was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for unwind



English Language Learners Definition of unwind

: to move the end of something (such as a piece of string) that is wound in a roll, coil, etc., so that it becomes straight

: to relax and stop thinking about work, problems, etc.


un·wind | \ˌən-ˈwīnd \
unwound\-ˈwau̇nd \; unwinding

Kids Definition of unwind

1 : to uncoil a strand of I unwound yarn from a ball. The fishing line unwound from the reel.

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