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unravel

[uhn-rav-uh l] /ʌnˈræv əl/
verb (used with object), unraveled, unraveling or (especially British) unravelled, unravelling.
1.
to separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, etc.).
2.
to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve:
to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery.
3.
Informal. to take apart; undo; destroy (a plan, agreement, or arrangement).
verb (used without object), unraveled, unraveling or (especially British) unravelled, unravelling.
4.
to become unraveled.
Origin
1595-1605
1595-1605; un-2 + ravel
Related forms
unraveler; especially British, unraveller, noun
unravelment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for unravel
  • Soon after arriving, the promises made and the perceptions presented at the interview began to unravel.
  • Any reverse could unravel the political system they have created.
  • If that happens, the forest's ecology will begin to unravel.
  • New findings are helping to unravel why this is the case.
  • But for the archaeologists seeking to unravel its secrets, the clock is ticking.
  • Acquaintance is the tool humans use to draw inferences, to unravel ambiguities and fill in missing information.
  • The well-planned fantasy of my first pregnancy began to unravel during delivery.
  • Researchers unravel some long-standing mysteries of bar-headed geese, the world's highest-flying birds.
  • But attempts to unravel that history have produced many interpretations and arguments.
  • We may be at the point where that effort to blend the two has begun to unravel.
British Dictionary definitions for unravel

unravel

/ʌnˈrævəl/
verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
1.
(transitive) to reduce (something knitted or woven) to separate strands
2.
(transitive) to undo or untangle (something tangled or knotted)
3.
(transitive) to explain or solve the mystery was unravelled
4.
(intransitive) to become unravelled
Derived Forms
unraveller, noun
unravelment, 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
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Word Origin and History for unravel
v.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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