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.
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.

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

British Dictionary definitions for unwinder


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
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 unwinder



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper