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See more synonyms for unwind on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), un·wound, un·wind·ing.
  1. to undo or loosen from or as if from a coiled condition: to unwind a rolled bandage; to unwind a coiled rope.
  2. to reduce the tension of; relax: to unwind a person with a drink.
  3. to disentangle or disengage; untwist: to unwind one's legs from around the stool.
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verb (used without object), un·wound, un·wind·ing.
  1. to become unwound.
  2. to become relieved of tension; relax: After work we can have a drink and unwind.
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Origin of unwind

1275–1325; Middle English onwinden; see un-2, wind2
Related formsun·wind·a·ble, adjectiveun·wind·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

loosen, unravel, unfurl, loose, slacken, separate, disentangle, free, unroll, unwrap, ravel, unbend, untwine, untwist, unreel, uncoil, recline, quieten, rest

Examples from the Web for unwind

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He began to unwind his long scarf while she placed a seat for him.


    George Eliot

  • Then Mukna's head began to droop and droop; and his trunk began to unwind.

  • We want to have you take us to the North Pole and unwind about six years.

    The Panchronicon

    Harold Steele Mackaye

  • "Perhaps this will do," he thought, and hurriedly proceeded to unwind it.

    The Duke's Motto

    Justin Huntly McCarthy

  • Her argument, however, does not concern this history, which has too many other threads to unwind.

British Dictionary definitions for unwind


verb -winds, -winding or -wound
  1. to slacken, undo, or unravel or cause to slacken, undo, or unravel
  2. (tr) to disentangle
  3. to make or become relaxedhe finds it hard to unwind after a busy day at work
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Derived Formsunwindable, adjectiveunwinder, 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 unwind


early 14c., "to undo" (a bandage, wrapping, etc.), from un- (2) + wind (v.). Cf. Old English unwindan, Dutch ontwinden, Old High German intwindan. Refl. sense is recorded from 1740; figurative sense of "to release oneself from tensions, to relax" is recorded from 1938. Related: Unwound; unwinding.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper