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

This style has become more of a necessity to unwind and downshift from the hectic flow of life here. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Bay Area home style: Say hello to beachy boho, coastal cool," 2 July 2019 Malabar Farm is the place where Hollywood stars visited to relax and unwind and where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall tied the knot in 1945. Rich Heileman, cleveland.com, "Berea’s Old Stone House still in limbo: Around The Town," 14 June 2019 After a hard day of massacring Thracians, what better way to unwind than to read yet again how Achilles atop his chariot dragged Hector’s lifeless body around the walls of Troy? Gregg Opelka, WSJ, "Putin’s Less-Than-Epic Mueller Retort," 7 May 2019 Some like it hot: Take part in the Scandinavian custom of an evening sauna, a great way to warm up and unwind after a day of dogsledding. Laura Farrell, National Geographic, "Where To Go On A Dog Sledding Vacation? Try Sweden | National Geographic Expeditions," 26 Mar. 2019 Aqualuna Symphony of Lights Cruise Aqualuna’s Symphony of Lights Cruise, which coincides with the city’s multimedia laser and lights show, is a perfect way to unwind before dinner or after a long day of touring. Janice Leung Hayes, Condé Nast Traveler, "23 Best Things to Do in Hong Kong," 27 Feb. 2018 No one has much downtime at the Olympics, but the Finns have found a way to relax, unwind and get to know each other. Laken Litman, USA TODAY, "Finnish team knits together at Winter Olympics," 14 Feb. 2018 If unexpected errands are necessary, enjoy the opportunity to take a few quiet moments in the car to unwindLEO (July 23-Aug. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Sept. 2, 2019: Happy birthday Keanu Reeves; Capricorn, time to try something new," 2 Sep. 2019 Add a few drops of New Highs under your tongue or in your favorite drink to unwind without psychoactive effects. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "Celebrate National CBD Day With All These Very Chill Sales," 8 Aug. 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

16 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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 fake an opponent out of position

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