View synonyms for unravel


[ uhn-rav-uhl ]

verb (used with object)

, un·rav·eled, un·rav·el·ing or (especially British) un·rav·elled, un·rav·el·ling.
  1. to separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, etc.).
  2. to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve:

    to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery.

  3. Informal. to take apart; undo; destroy (a plan, agreement, or arrangement).

verb (used without object)

, un·rav·eled, un·rav·el·ing or (especially British) un·rav·elled, un·rav·el·ling.
  1. to become unraveled.


/ ʌnˈrævəl /


  1. tr to reduce (something knitted or woven) to separate strands
  2. tr to undo or untangle (something tangled or knotted)
  3. tr to explain or solve

    the mystery was unravelled

  4. intr to become unravelled

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Derived Forms

  • unˈraveller, noun
  • unˈravelment, noun

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Other Words From

  • un·ravel·er especially British, un·ravel·ler noun
  • un·ravel·ment noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of unravel1

First recorded in 1595–1605; un- 2 + ravel

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Example Sentences

Gene editing may be able to help researchers unravel the mysteries of the cephalopod brain.

The details of how and under what conditions this happens have yet to be unraveled.

Hosts Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby in this week’s podcast, unraveled the increasingly sticky complex of district-by-district decisions on what to do about putting kids in classrooms.

“With this outcome, Borexino has completely unraveled the two processes powering the sun,” said physicist Gioacchino Ranucci of Italy’s National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Milan.

Let’s try to unravel this issue, starting with a brief history of rent control.

Although Schwend was initially released, his life began to unravel.

Soon, Egan begins to unravel—haunted by the high body counts, the civilian casualties, and the bizarre, detached nature of it all.

To help unravel the secrets of "Time Zones," The Daily Beast caught up with Hamm earlier this week in Los Angeles.

Those first confusing moments unravel in my mind like an old film.

Yet the distinction between good, bad, and likeable remains one of the most difficult mysteries to unravel.

De Robeck and Keyes came over from the Triad to unravel knotty points.

"Better leave your mother here," he said, when she told him of her determination to unravel the mystery.

The blank maze of tree trunks began to unravel into moss-strewn avenues.

To die as soon as possible, to escape shame by a complete disappearance, to unravel in this way an inextricable situation.

There's a mystery, but James Price, alias Pickles, 'ull unravel it.


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