verb (used with object)

to open or spread out (something rolled or coiled): to unroll a bolt of fabric.
to lay open; display; reveal.
Obsolete. to strike from a roll or register.

verb (used without object)

to become unrolled or spread out: The scrolls unroll easily.
to become continuously visible or apparent: The landscape unrolled before our eyes.

Origin of unroll

First recorded in 1375–1425, unroll is from the late Middle English word unrollen. See un-2, roll
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for unroll

Historical Examples of unroll

  • He had waited too often and futilely in the past for porcupines to unroll, to waste any more time.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • Has existence only to unroll a tableau, every detail of which is graven on my heart?

    Gerald Fitzgerald

    Charles James Lever

  • And with the word he began to unroll the parchment carefully.

    The God of Love

    Justin Huntly McCarthy

  • This done, we began to unroll the wrappings of the holy corpse.


    H. Rider Haggard

  • We unroll the charts, and differ in opinion over them more remarkably than ever.

British Dictionary definitions for unroll



to open out or unwind (something rolled, folded, or coiled) or (of something rolled, etc) to become opened out or unwound
to make or become visible or apparent, esp gradually; unfold
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 unroll

early 15c., from un- (2) + roll (v.). Related: Unrolled; unrolling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper