Definition of ravel in English:

ravel

verb

  • 1[with object] Untangle something.

    ‘Davy had finished ravelling out his herring net’
    • ‘Individual sheets are raveled out in advance by blowing air against the side of a stack of sheets to remove attractions between sheets.’
    entwine, interweave, interlace, interthread, interwind, intertwist, twist, coil, twirl, ravel, lace, braid, plait, knit
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  • 2[no object] Unravel; fray.

    ‘a shirt with a ravelled collar’
    • ‘His hand went instinctively to the cup holder, retrieving his raveled up fabric belt and tying it about his waist.’
    • ‘It would be nice if you could just ravel out into time.’
    • ‘A poorly installed carpet may end up raveling at the edges or showing ripples.’
    • ‘The lips are slightly parted and a cord made of knotted strips of raveled red cloth hangs to the floor, where the crow grasps it in its beak.’
    • ‘When serging decorative thread chains, cording or braid, dab seam sealant on the ends to prevent the chain from raveling.’
    • ‘Press under the seam allowances on the edges of the pocket and finish those edges if your fabric ravels.’
    • ‘Wash the finished bag a few times, allowing the seam allowances to ravel.’
    • ‘It never raveled when cut, and therefore none of the edges of a broadcloth garment had to be further finished.’
    • ‘Pulses raced and temperatures soared as the game ravelled furiously before the heated supporters.’
    • ‘Knits don't ravel, so no seam finish is required.’
    • ‘There is no need to finish seams as fleece does not ravel.’
    • ‘If your fabrics tend to ravel, serge the seam raw edges together.’
    • ‘There was an unwilling groan, then sounds of sheets raveling.’
    • ‘Even though fleece doesn't ravel, the rows of stitching lines need to be sewn on the bias to achieve a good bloom.’
    • ‘Tapes are the worst of every world - cracklier than vinyl, short-lived and very easily destroyed (the brown tape ravels and tears at every opportunity), neither crisp nor full.’
    • ‘The long pieced strips will be cut into sections and the short stitch length helps keep the seams from raveling.’
    • ‘If the fabric ravels easily after cutting, serge-finish the edges before constructing the garment.’
    • ‘It also ravels, so it isn't appropriate for close-fitting styles.’
    • ‘You find out about Albert Bronzini and Matty as the novel ravels into the past, as their ends lie in their beginnings.’
    • ‘If, as Shakespeare wrote, sleep knits up the raveled sleeve of care, then meditation orders the cluttered closet of life.’
  • 3[with object] Confuse or complicate (a question or situation)

    ‘I'd prefer you to keep your nose out of my business and not ravel things further’
    • ‘The plot is sufficiently ravelled for the entry to Valhalla to have only ambiguous significance.’
    make difficult, make more difficult, make complex, make complicated, mix up
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noun

  • A tangle, cluster, or knot.

    ‘a ravel of knitting’
    • ‘We discovered that whoever installed the pipes sealed the joints with duct tape because little silver ravels are visible at each section.’
    • ‘What results is a controlled ravel (because the cuts are made on the bias) and a fluffy chenille effect.’

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘entangle, confuse’): probably from Dutch ravelen fray out, tangle.

Pronunciation:

ravel

/ˈrav(ə)l/