[uhn-rav-uh l]

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.

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 unraveled

Contemporary Examples of unraveled

Historical Examples of unraveled

  • Unraveled rope-strands, burnt off in the fire, served to lash all together.

    Out of the Depths

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • This was the mystery to be unraveled, and the Major soon explained it.

  • He had, I knew, unraveled other tangles as mysterious as this.

  • These he had unraveled with the aid of Farnsworth, the attorney for the estate.

    El Diablo

    Brayton Norton

  • Who built this temple, and how was it built, and when, are mysteries that may never be unraveled.

    Roughing It

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

British Dictionary definitions for unraveled


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 unraveled



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper