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2017 Word of the Year

ravel

[rav-uh l] /ˈræv əl/
verb (used with object), raveled, raveling or (especially British) ravelled, ravelling.
1.
to disentangle or unravel the threads or fibers of (a woven or knitted fabric, rope, etc.).
2.
to tangle or entangle.
3.
to involve; confuse; perplex.
4.
to make clear; unravel (often followed by out).
verb (used without object), raveled, raveling or (especially British) ravelled, ravelling.
5.
to become disjoined thread by thread or fiber by fiber; fray.
6.
to become tangled.
7.
to become confused or perplexed.
8.
(of a road surface) to lose aggregate.
noun
9.
a tangle or complication.
Origin of ravel
1575-1585
First recorded in 1575-85, ravel is from the Dutch word rafelen
Related forms
raveler; especially British, raveller, noun
ravelly, adjective

raveling

[rav-uh-ling] /ˈræv ə lɪŋ/
noun
1.
something raveled out, as a thread drawn or separated from a knitted or woven fabric.
Also, especially British, ravelling.
Origin
First recorded in 1650-60; ravel + -ing1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for ravelling
Historical Examples
  • Was he ravelling out his life into golden threads that vanished and were forgotten?

    The Great Hunger Johan Bojer
  • It is not by ravelling that you will best appreciate its tissue or design.

  • There's no crying off for YOU no ravelling out, no clean leaves.

    The Return Walter de la Mare
  • I was afraid to use violence for fear of breaking it, or ravelling it through.

    The Vast Abyss George Manville Fenn
  • She would pick every shred, ravelling, or speck from one's clothing.

    The Speech of Monkeys R. L. Garner
  • It's as if my will had come untwisted and was ravelling out into separate strands.

  • You hadn't any experience in ravelling such things out, and naturally it was too many for you.

  • Overcasting is a slanting stitch used to keep raw edges from ravelling.

    Textiles and Clothing Kate Heintz Watson
  • Another, with lint bandages in her hand, begged her to come into a church hard by and assist in ravelling linen for the surgeons.

    The Battle Ground Ellen Glasgow
  • Gently to and fro her tresses drifted on the water, or under the water went ever ravelling and unravelling.

    Zuleika Dobson Max Beerbohm
British Dictionary definitions for ravelling

ravel

/ˈrævəl/
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
1.
to tangle (threads, fibres, etc) or (of threads, fibres, etc) to become entangled
2.
(often foll by out) to tease or draw out (the fibres of a fabric or garment) or (of a garment or fabric) to fray out in loose ends; unravel
3.
(transitive) usually foll by out. to disentangle or resolve: to ravel out a complicated story
4.
to break up (a road surface) in patches or (of a road surface) to begin to break up; fret; scab
5.
(archaic) to make or become confused or complicated
noun
6.
a tangle or complication
Derived Forms
raveller, noun
ravelly, adjective
Word Origin
C16: from Middle Dutch ravelen

Ravel

/French ravɛl/
noun
1.
Maurice (Joseph) (mɔris). 1875–1937, French composer, noted for his use of unresolved dissonances and mastery of tone colour. His works include Gaspard de la Nuit (1908) and Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917) for piano, Boléro (1928) for orchestra, and the ballet Daphnis et Chloé (1912)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for ravelling
adjective

See raveling

adjective

pertaining to something that frays or ravels; also written ravelling

Examples

The raveling bottom of the jeans cannot be repaired.

Word Origin

1844

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014 Dictionary.com, LLC
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Word Origin and History for ravelling

ravel

v.

1580s, "to untangle, disentangle, unwind" (originally with out), also "to entangle, become tangled or confused," from Dutch ravelen "to tangle, fray," rafelen "to unweave," from rafel "frayed thread." The seemingly contradictory senses of this word (ravel and unravel are both synonyms and antonyms) are reconciled by its roots in weaving and sewing: as threads become unwoven, they get tangled.

ravel

n.

1630s, "a tangle;" 1832, "a broken thread," from ravel (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Word Value for ravelling

13
18
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