[ uhn-rav-uh l ]
/ ʌnˈræv əl /

verb (used with object), un·rav·eled, un·rav·el·ing or (especially British) un·rav·elled, un·rav·el·ling.

to separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, etc.).
to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve: to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery.
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.

to become unraveled.

Nearby words

  1. unquestioned,
  2. unquestioning,
  3. unquiet,
  4. unquote,
  5. unraped,
  6. unreachable,
  7. unreactive,
  8. unread,
  9. unreadable,
  10. unready

Origin of unravel

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

Related formsun·rav·el·er; especially British, un·rav·el·ler, nounun·rav·el·ment, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unravel

British Dictionary definitions for unravel


/ (ʌnˈrævəl) /

verb -els, -elling or -elled or US -els, -eling or -eled

(tr) to reduce (something knitted or woven) to separate strands
(tr) to undo or untangle (something tangled or knotted)
(tr) to explain or solvethe mystery was unravelled
(intr) to become unravelled
Derived Formsunraveller, noununravelment, 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 unravel



c.1600, from un- (2) + ravel (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper