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 part of the House bill that gave the states the option to unwind the law’s insurance reforms was literally named the MacArthur amendment. Dylan Scott, Vox, "The 2 House Republicans who put it all on the line for Obamacare repeal could lose Tuesday," 5 Nov. 2018 To help employees unwind at the office, the company hosts fun activities, from laser tag and mall shopping sprees to bowling, kickball and cooking classes. azcentral, "Top Companies to Work for in Arizona-Small Companies," 7 June 2018 Just like me, Miranda loved to unwind with soaps, which, in a small way, made her New York City lifestyle a bit more accessible. Gabriella Paiella, The Cut, "I Think About This a Lot: Sex and the City Edition," 6 June 2018 Send the family off to do something fun together, unwind with a glass of wine, and put your phone on silent. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Woman's Day, "30 Fun Things to Do By Yourself in Your Lifetime," 3 Jan. 2019 Democrats campaigned hard against Republicans for backing legislation last year that would unwind the law’s protections for preexisting conditions, and health care came in as the No. 1 issue for voters, according to exit polls. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Trump’s biggest midterm blunder: embracing Obamacare repeal," 7 Nov. 2018 Now with nearly 500 stores, Chipotle goes public at $22 a share as McDonald's begins to unwind its ownership of the chain. James F. Peltz, latimes.com, "Can Taco Bell's former chief restore Chipotle's once-sizzling growth?," 14 Mar. 2018 As investors unwind positions that were predicated on at least the possibility of rates staying unchanged, stocks could be in for a bit of upset. Justin Lahart, WSJ, "Warning Sign: Some Investors are Fighting the Fed," 11 Dec. 2018 There's no better way to unwind and raise a glass to the weekend. Madeleine Bokan, House Beautiful, "You Can Now Own Our Whole Home Project House," 26 Oct. 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

20 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on unwind

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

Comments on unwind

What made you want to look up unwind? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to corrupt or become corrupted

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