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[uhn-fohld] /ʌnˈfoʊld/
verb (used with object)
to bring out of a folded state; spread or open out:
Unfold your arms.
to spread out or lay open to view.
to reveal or display.
to reveal or disclose in words, especially by careful or systematic exposition; set forth; explain.
verb (used without object)
to become unfolded; open.
to develop.
to become clear, apparent, or known:
The protagonist's character unfolds as the story reaches its climax.
Origin of unfold
before 900; Middle English unfolden, Old English unfealdan; cognate with German entfalten. See un-2, fold1
Related forms
unfoldable, adjective
unfolder, noun
unfoldment, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unfoldment
Historical Examples
  • The history of the world must be felt to be real—that is, as an unfoldment of purpose in the world.

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
  • History, we should hold, is in great part an unfoldment of this motive.

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
  • These are types and symbols of ourselves and our process of birth and unfoldment.

    The Right Knock

    Helen Van-Anderson
  • The process of growth, development and unfoldment is going on steadily.

    Nuggets of the New Thought

    William Walker Atkinson,
  • Was not the unfoldment of truth a matter, not of years, but of ages?

    Carmen Ariza Charles Francis Stocking
  • With deep gratification I observe the unfoldment of Harry's mind.

    Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist Alexander Berkman
  • In this unfoldment, a new meaning for immortality would come to them.

    Solaris Farm

    Milan C. Edson
  • The process of acquiring these things is not accretion but unfoldment.

  • Memory often keeps us related in strange ways, and hinders our unfoldment.

    Freedom Talks No. II Julia Seton
  • She did not recognize that such trust was necessary to the unfoldment of character, nor even that it was her birthright.

    The Wind Before the Dawn Dell H. Munger
British Dictionary definitions for unfoldment


to open or spread out or be opened or spread out from a folded state
to reveal or be revealed: the truth unfolds
to develop or expand or be developed or expanded
Derived Forms
unfolder, noun
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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Word Origin and History for unfoldment



Old English unfealdan, "to open or unwrap the folds of," also figuratively, "to disclose, reveal," from un- (2) "opposite of" + fold (v.). Cf. Middle Dutch ontvouden, German entfalten. Intransitive sense is attested from late 14c. Related: Unfolded; unfolding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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