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[uhn-rav-uh l] /ʌnˈræv əl/
verb (used with object), unraveled, unraveling or (especially British) unravelled, unravelling.
to separate or disentangle the threads of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, etc.).
to free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve:
to unravel a situation; to unravel a mystery.
Informal. to take apart; undo; destroy (a plan, agreement, or arrangement).
verb (used without object), unraveled, unraveling or (especially British) unravelled, unravelling.
to become unraveled.
Origin of unravel
1595-1605; un-2 + ravel
Related forms
unraveler; especially British, unraveller, noun
unravelment, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for unraveled
  • That's a slender sort of tale for nearly two hours of telling and, believe us, it breaks more than once before it is unraveled.
  • His claims unraveled, of course-in part because of conversations he himself had tape-recorded.
  • We unraveled great ancestral diversity between and within the different regions.
  • But after a successful first flight that day, things unraveled.
  • The universe itself is an impenetrable mystery, yet it waits to be unraveled.
  • When that part of the argument unraveled, the other part about a possible conspiracy was too easily discounted.
  • But that personality couldn't be unraveled now, with simple questions in a formal public gathering.
  • When the galaxies sideswiped each other long ago, they unraveled long tails of stars and gas.
  • Sato unraveled the mystery by changing the direction of his data recorders.
  • And thus space-time was unraveled, and the universe ceased to have ever existed.
British Dictionary definitions for unraveled


verb -els, -elling, -elled (US) -els, -eling, -eled
(transitive) to reduce (something knitted or woven) to separate strands
(transitive) to undo or untangle (something tangled or knotted)
(transitive) to explain or solve: the mystery was unravelled
(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 unraveled



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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