verb (used with object)

to undo or remove the contents from (a box, trunk, etc.).
to remove (something) from a container, suitcase, etc.
to unburden, as the mind; reveal.
to decipher or discern (the meaning of symbols, statements, etc.): Each statement could be unpacked in the general theory.
to remove a pack or load from (a horse, vehicle, etc.).

verb (used without object)

to remove the contents of a container.

Origin of unpack

First recorded in 1425–75, unpack is from the late Middle English word unpakken. See un-2, pack1
Related formsun·pack·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for unpack

unload, unlade, empty, unbox, uncrate

Examples from the Web for unpack

Contemporary Examples of unpack

Historical Examples of unpack

  • If you'll unpack the mare and tether her, Haggis, we can see aboot the fire and the meat.

    The Fiery Totem

    Argyll Saxby

  • The Sanford contingent had their trunks to unpack as soon as they should arrive.

  • Judith unlocked her trunk and began to unpack her treasures.

    Judy of York Hill

    Ethel Hume Patterson Bennett

  • Pass along at once, and find your quarters and begin to unpack.

  • (Crosses to r.) Go to your room and get settled; then unpack the other trunks.

British Dictionary definitions for unpack



to remove the packed contents of (a case, trunk, etc)
(tr) to take (something) out of a packed container
(tr) to remove a pack from; unloadto unpack a mule
(tr) to explain (a question, issue, etc) by analysing its component parts
Derived Formsunpacker, 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 unpack

late 15c., from un- (2) + pack (v.). Cf. Dutch ontpakken. Related: Unpacked; unpacking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper