verb (used with object), un·laced, un·lac·ing.

to loosen or undo the lacing or laces of (a pair of shoes, a corset, etc.).
to loosen or remove the garments of (a person) by or as if by undoing laces.

Origin of unlace

First recorded in 1300–50, unlace is from the Middle English word unlacen. See un-2, lace
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unlace

Historical Examples of unlace

  • Philothea was stooping to unlace her sandal, and she immediately picked it up.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • He tried to unlace the thongs that bound his feet, but could not manage it.

  • Sit 'ee down and unlace your boots, while me and Tenny pulls.

    Shining Ferry

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • Before he realized what she was doing, she had started to unlace his boots.

    The Woman Gives

    Owen Johnson

  • Let me unlace your boots—why, your feet are cold, and on a night like this!

    A Case in Camera

    Oliver Onions

British Dictionary definitions for unlace


verb (tr)

to loosen or undo the lacing of (shoes, garments, etc)
to unfasten or remove garments of (oneself or another) by or as if by undoing lacing
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 unlace

c.1300, from un- (2) + lace (v.). Related: Unlaced; unlacing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper