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English definition of “unravel”

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)
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