English

Definition of unravel verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    unravel

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ʌnˈrævl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈrævl//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they unravel
    BrE BrE//ʌnˈrævl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈrævl//
     
    he / she / it unravels
    BrE BrE//ʌnˈrævlz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈrævlz//
     
    past simple unravelled
    BrE BrE//ʌnˈrævld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈrævld//
     
    past participle unravelled
    BrE BrE//ʌnˈrævld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈrævld//
     
    (US English) past simple unraveled
    BrE BrE//ʌnˈrævld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈrævld//
     
    (US English) past participle unraveled
    BrE BrE//ʌnˈrævld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈrævld//
     
    -ing form unravelling
    BrE BrE//ʌnˈrævlɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈrævlɪŋ//
     
    (US English) -ing form unraveling
    BrE BrE//ʌnˈrævlɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʌnˈrævlɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1[transitive, intransitive] unravel (something) if you unravel threads that are twisted, woven or knitted, or if they unravel, they become separated I unravelled the string and wound it into a ball.
  2. 2[intransitive] (of a system, plan, relationship, etc.) to start to fail or no longer stay together as a whole
  3. 3[transitive, intransitive] unravel (something) to explain something that is difficult to understand or is mysterious; to become clearer or easier to understand The discovery will help scientists unravel the mystery of the Ice Age.
  4. Extra examples a complicated relationship that is difficult to unravel Gradually, the mystery began to unravel. The discovery will help scientists unravel the secrets of the Ice Age.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: unravel