See more synonyms for undoing on Thesaurus.com
  1. the reversing of what has been done; annulling.
  2. a bringing to destruction, ruin, or disaster.
  3. a cause of destruction or ruin.
  4. the act of unfastening or loosing.
  5. Psychiatry. an unconscious defense mechanism through which an attempt is made to reverse a psychologically unacceptable act by doing its opposite, usually repetitiously, in order to relieve anxiety.

Origin of undoing

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50; see origin at undo, -ing1
Related formsself-un·do·ing, adjective

Synonyms for undoing

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. reversal, negation, thwarting.


verb (used with object), un·did, un·done, un·do·ing.
  1. to reverse the doing of; cause to be as if never done: Murder once done can never be undone.
  2. to do away with; erase; efface: to undo the havoc done by the storm.
  3. to bring to ruin or disaster; destroy: In the end his lies undid him.
  4. to unfasten by releasing: to undo a gate; to undo a button.
  5. to untie or loose (a knot, rope, etc.).
  6. to open (a package, wrapping, etc.).
  7. Archaic. to explain; interpret.

Origin of undo

before 900; Middle English; Old English undōn; cognate with Dutch ontdoen. See un-2, do1
Related formsun·do·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedundo undue
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for undoing

Contemporary Examples of undoing

Historical Examples of undoing

  • He could not have chosen a more opportune time to confirm his own undoing.

  • Wherefore this caution against me, but (pardon me) for thine own undoing?

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • It is not the doing of a year; it is the undoing of the years.

    Bride of the Mistletoe

    James Lane Allen

  • Having enmeshed him, she confidently left him to complete his own undoing.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Murphy cast one despairing glance about him and slouched to his undoing.

    Old Man Curry

    Charles E. (Charles Emmett) Van Loan

British Dictionary definitions for undoing


  1. ruin; downfall
  2. the cause of downfalldrink was his undoing


verb -does, -doing, -did or -done (mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) to untie, unwrap, or open or become untied, unwrapped, etc
  2. to reverse the effects of
  3. to cause the downfall of
  4. obsolete to explain or solve
Derived Formsundoer, 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

Word Origin and History for undoing



Old English undon "to unfasten and open" (a window or door), "to unfasten by releasing from a fixed position," from un- (2) + do (v.). The notion is of "to annul something that was done." Related: Undone; undoing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper