- 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).
- to become unraveled.
Origin of unravel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for unravel
Although Schwend was initially released, his life began to unravel.On the Trail of Nazi Counterfeiters
Dr. Kevin C. Ruffner
September 20, 2014
Soon, Egan begins to unravel—haunted by the high body counts, the civilian casualties, and the bizarre, detached nature of it all.Ethan Hawke's 'Good Kill': A Searing Indictment of America's Drone Warfare Obsession
September 6, 2014
Yet the distinction between good, bad, and likeable remains one of the most difficult mysteries to unravel.The Witty Genius of YouTube’s CinemaSins: Everything Wrong with Your Favorite Movie
April 3, 2014
Intense diplomacy in the last few days resolved a number of late snags that threatened to unravel the agreement.Gen. John Allen Praises the Terms of New U.S.-Afghanistan Agreement
November 21, 2013
Edith is an unlucky person, and when good things happen they so often seem to unravel.Emmys 2013: ‘Downton Abbey’ Creator Julian Fellowes’s Favorite Season 3 Moments
August 21, 2013
What if to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow brings no light to unravel this mystery?A Son of Hagar
Sir Hall Caine
The whole affair is a terrible mystery; be assured I will do my best to unravel it.The Cat of Bubastes
G. A. Henty
What the police have failed to fathom, how can you hope to unravel?The Hound From The North
She has that sort of head that loves a hard knot to unravel!Barrington
Charles James Lever
There were more complexities in Tom's character than Henry could unravel.A Great Man
- (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
Word Origin and History for unravel
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper