Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “unravel”

See all translations

unravel

verb uk   /ʌnˈræv.əl/ (-ll- or US usually -l-) us  

unravel verb (CLOTH)

[I or T] If a piece of knitted or woven cloth, a knot, or a mass of thread unravels, it separates into a single thread, and if you unravel it, you separate it into a single thread: You'd better mend that hole before the whole sweater starts to unravel. I had to unravel one of the sleeves because I realized I'd knitted it too small.

unravel verb (SUBJECT)

[I or T] If you unravel a mysterious, unknown, or complicated subject, you make it known or understood, and if it unravels, it becomes known or understood: We've got a long way to go before we unravel the secrets of genetics.

unravel verb (PROCESS)

[I, T usually passive] If a process or achievement that was slow and complicated unravels or is unravelled, it is destroyed: As talks between the leaders broke down, several months of careful diplomacy were unravelled.
(Definition of unravel from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of unravel?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “unravel” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

piglet

a baby pig

Word of the Day

I won’t tolerate it! Replacing formal words with phrasal verbs.

by Liz Walter,
April 01, 2015
When you are using a language, it is important to understand if a word is formal or informal, so that you can use it in an appropriate way. You might hear people saying dosh for money, or spud for potato, but they wouldn’t write those words in a formal essay. Similarly, a

Read More 

stackin’ p

March 30, 2015
idiom slang earning a lot of money ‘That’s a very generous present.”Yeah, well, she’s stackin’ p, innit?’

Read More