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[uhn-wahynd] /ʌnˈwaɪnd/
verb (used with object), unwound, unwinding.
to undo or loosen from or as if from a coiled condition:
to unwind a rolled bandage; to unwind a coiled rope.
to reduce the tension of; relax:
to unwind a person with a drink.
to disentangle or disengage; untwist:
to unwind one's legs from around the stool.
verb (used without object), unwound, unwinding.
to become unwound.
to become relieved of tension; relax:
After work we can have a drink and unwind.
Origin of unwind
1275-1325; Middle English onwinden; see un-2, wind2
Related forms
unwindable, adjective
unwinder, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unwind
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He began to unwind his long scarf while she placed a seat for him.

    Romola George Eliot
  • Then Mukna's head began to droop and droop; and his trunk began to unwind.

  • We want to have you take us to the North Pole and unwind about six years.

    The Panchronicon Harold Steele Mackaye
  • "Perhaps this will do," he thought, and hurriedly proceeded to unwind it.

    The Duke's Motto Justin Huntly McCarthy
  • Her argument, however, does not concern this history, which has too many other threads to unwind.

British Dictionary definitions for unwind


verb -winds, -winding, -wound
to slacken, undo, or unravel or cause to slacken, undo, or unravel
(transitive) to disentangle
to make or become relaxed: he finds it hard to unwind after a busy day at work
Derived Forms
unwindable, adjective
unwinder, 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 unwind

early 14c., "to undo" (a bandage, wrapping, etc.), from un- (2) + wind (v.). Cf. Old English unwindan, Dutch ontwinden, Old High German intwindan. Refl. sense is recorded from 1740; figurative sense of "to release oneself from tensions, to relax" is recorded from 1938. Related: Unwound; unwinding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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