un·​wind | \ ˌən-ˈwīnd How to pronounce unwind (audio) \
unwound\ ˌən-​ˈwau̇nd How to pronounce unwound (audio) \; 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

The official said on Thursday that talks with Tehran are aimed at de-escalating dangerously rising tensions, and buying time toward unwinding the crisis. Washington Post, "The Latest: Europe talking with Iran, dispute tool an option," 3 July 2019 These warnings have been left unheeded by Trump, who promised to promote coal throughout his presidential campaign and has unwound environmental policies to that end as president. Justin Worland, Time, "The Trump Administration Protested When Kenya Halted a Coal-Fired Power Plant," 2 July 2019 Only a few months ago, central banks were putting the brakes on their fast-growing economies or, in the European Central Bank’s case, unwinding emergency measures put in place during the last crisis. Jeanna Smialek, BostonGlobe.com, "As recession fears grow in Europe, central bank signals stimulus increase," 18 June 2019 Royal Estates homesites offer the depth of a 150-foot property — all the backyard space for fun and fitness, neighborhood parties, backyard gardens or simply for a private oasis to unwind. Houston Chronicle, "New Meridiana neighborhood features Texas-sized backyards," 16 June 2019 But unwinding the deals are far harder than buying a timeshare. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "He wanted out of his timeshares — he never predicted the nightmare ahead," 13 June 2019 Stroll, cycle, or skate the seaside Promenade des Anglais, then unwind at one of the casinos on the boulevard’s eastern end. Rachel Brown, National Geographic, "In France for the Women’s World Cup? Here’s what to do.," 12 June 2019 After taking care of his skin, Porowski takes two products to help unwind before bed fully. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Antoni Porowski's Nighttime Skincare Routine," 28 May 2019 In all regards, the French looked immaculately drilled, unwinding clever set-piece sequences on multiple occasions to catch their opponents off guard. Andrew Keh, New York Times, "France Revels as It Opens the World Cup With a Victory," 7 June 2019

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

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for unwind

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

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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 How to pronounce unwind (audio) \
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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unwind

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unwind

Spanish Central: Translation of unwind

Nglish: Translation of unwind for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unwind for Arabic Speakers

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