verb (used with object), raveled, raveling or (especially British) ravelled, ravelling.
to disentangle or unravel the threads or fibers of (a woven or knitted fabric, rope, etc.).
to tangle or entangle.
to involve; confuse; perplex.
to make clear; unravel (often followed by out ).
verb (used without object), raveled, raveling or (especially British) ravelled, ravelling.
to become disjoined thread by thread or fiber by fiber; fray.
to become tangled.
to become confused or perplexed.
(of a road surface) to lose aggregate.
a tangle or complication.

1575–85; < Dutch rafelen

raveler; especially British, raveller, noun
ravelly, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ravel (ˈrævəl)
vb (usually foll by out) , (US) -els, -elling, -elled, -els, -eling, -eled
1.  to tangle (threads, fibres, etc) or (of threads, fibres, etc) to become entangled
2.  (often foll by out) to tease or draw out (the fibres of a fabric or garment) or (of a garment or fabric) to fray out in loose ends; unravel
3.  to disentangle or resolve: to ravel out a complicated story
4.  to break up (a road surface) in patches or (of a road surface) to begin to break up; fret; scab
5.  archaic to make or become confused or complicated
6.  a tangle or complication
[C16: from Middle Dutch ravelen]

Ravel (French ravɛl)
Maurice (Joseph) (mɔris). 1875--1937, French composer, noted for his use of unresolved dissonances and mastery of tone colour. His works include Gaspard de la Nuit (1908) and Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917) for piano, Boléro (1928) for orchestra, and the ballet Daphnis et Chloé (1912)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1580s, "to untangle, unwind," also "to become tangled or confused," from Du. ravelen "to tangle, fray, unweave," from rafel "frayed thread." The seemingly contradictory senses of this word (ravel and unravel are both synonyms and antonyms) are reconciled by its roots in weaving and sewing: as threads
become unwoven, they get tangled.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
To fill and seal cracks and raveled surfaces of old pavement.
Raveled areas that do not require removing shall be cleaned by hand brooming unless otherwise indicated.
Clean raveled surfaces and coat with liquid asphalt, apply new wear coat.
Hillside material loosened by the burn raveled down on side-sloping trails often covering them completely.
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