Definition of unfold in English:



  • 1Open or spread out from a folded position.

    [with object] ‘he unfolded the map and laid it out on the table’
    [no object] ‘the white flowers were just starting to unfold’
    • ‘It is observed that none of the colors is appreciably more buried or exposed to water upon unfolding or folding.’
    • ‘The council is understood to be concerned that fingers could become trapped when the scooter is folded or unfolded.’
    • ‘She tore open the envelope and unfolded the paper inside, but sighed when she looked at it.’
    • ‘The one next to him on his left unfolded a paper map of the known areas of the world.’
    • ‘Once in place, the lens unfolds into the correct position.’
    • ‘I held my breath as I opened the envelope and unfolded the piece of paper in it.’
    • ‘She lifted the envelope, and tore it open, and unfolding the letter, she read the typed print.’
    • ‘She carelessly ripped open the envelope and unfolded the piece of paper.’
    • ‘Ted unfolded the map and spread it out across the hood of my car.’
    • ‘Lavana picked up the note and sat on his bed as she opened it up and unfolded the paper.’
    • ‘She tore the thin white envelope open and unfolded the small, yellow-lined notebook paper.’
    • ‘Becky was sitting in one of the pews nervously folding and unfolding a piece of paper, which was her speech.’
    • ‘The paper inside was tightly folded; as he unfolded it, something fell out.’
    • ‘The singing ceased as the child was given a task, and she carefully unfolded the map and spread it out above the top of Dom's head.’
    • ‘It's very important to condition your horse to the sound of rattling paper as you fold and unfold the map.’
    • ‘He took off the plastic wrap and searched for a fork for her while she ripped open the envelope and unfolded the paper that was inside.’
    • ‘When folded it sits behind the rear seatbacks, and it opens easily by pulling it out to the loading edge, unfolding and locking it open.’
    • ‘He carefully opened it, and unfolded the gray piece of paper inside.’
    • ‘She tore open the envelope, unfolding the two page letter, and hungrily read every line of her son's missive.’
    • ‘I continued packing my clothes, folding shirts, unfolding them, tucking socks into shoes.’
    open out, spread out, stretch out, flatten, straighten out, unfurl, unroll, unravel, uncoil, unwind, extend
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  • 2[no object] (of events or information) gradually develop or be revealed.

    ‘there was a fascinating scene unfolding before me’
    • ‘The past four weeks saw many interesting events unfold in the local soccer scene, and I missed out big time because I was away on leave.’
    • ‘It amazes me that watching events unfolding on my screen again affects me as powerfully still one year on.’
    • ‘The Godfreys said yesterday it was difficult to process the information as the tragedy unfolded.’
    • ‘As the event unfolds, and as the enquiry reveals details, I'd expect to see more of that.’
    • ‘As the episodes unfold, we gradually see beneath the generic surface of the characters.’
    • ‘As the plot develops you realize that as many of the events unfold, it is not clear which of them occur naturally and which are engineered by the people that govern.’
    • ‘Events could unfold as described above, or they could develop a bit differently, give or take a nuke or two.’
    • ‘We watched the events unfold in horrid fascination.’
    • ‘I often think of them as an extension of Plan A, literally risk management as the incident or event unfolds.’
    • ‘The opposite view is that managers have very limited ability to determine outcomes and that strategy emerges as events unfold.’
    • ‘That is how fast political events are unfolding in Zambia.’
    • ‘Yesterday a tragedy unfolded, a tragic event that could have been avoided, one that led to the unfortunate loss of life.’
    • ‘Watching events unfold in the global market, we've long warned that economic conditions were deteriorating.’
    • ‘Through study and hindsight, he was able to bring his own perspective to bear on how these momentous events unfolded and changed the world in so many ways.’
    • ‘Well, I think we'll know how to measure success or failure as events unfold.’
    • ‘There was a huge outpouring of grief and shock as the events unfolded on Tuesday.’
    • ‘It would be a lie to say my son is unduly concerned by events unfolding in the Middle East.’
    • ‘When we come back, we'll get the latest from our reporters watching the parade of events unfolding in Iraq.’
    • ‘The events unfold in reverse chronological order, starting with a car accident that leaves Georgia in a coma.’
    • ‘The first is more of a timeline, where the events are unfolding and the issues are starting to emerge.’
    develop, evolve, happen, take place, occur, transpire, unroll, emerge, grow, progress, mature, work out, untangle, bear fruit, blossom
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    1. 2.1[with object]Reveal or disclose (thoughts or information)
      ‘Eva unfolded her secret exploits to Mattie’
      • ‘The meandering pace with which Benton unfolds his narrative reinforces the lesson.’
      • ‘Traditionally, ambiguity in unfolding news requires flexibility to different aspects of the same story.’
      • ‘Trained as a musician, Adams understood the richness of variation that could be unfolded from a single theme.’
      • ‘An exclusive report details what really happened - and unfolds the agony of a grieving guide who led his clients to their deaths.’
      • ‘Eternity will reveal and unfold the answer best.’
      • ‘The complex large-scale forms of serious music unfold their narratives in time with an authority that cannot be hurried.’
      • ‘Escaping the obvious, her works allow for a freedom of interpretation and reading, each unfolding an absorbing narrative.’
      • ‘The plot of the play centres around the Doyle Family and many revelations are unfolded as the play unfolds its riveting story.’
      • ‘Another favorite device is the making of narratives that unfold the spatial organization of pictures.’
      • ‘The book is designed to unfold its theme between these two brief poems: the theme of human love as a kind of miraculous agony.’
      • ‘The Sikh history, in all its varied phases, unfolds the genius of the Sikhs as a dynamic community.’
      • ‘The efficiency of the architect lies in unfolding the unexplainable details.’
      • ‘A poet's life compressed into this book unfolds ideas both minute and complex.’
      • ‘It takes the reader into the world of six ordinary women and slowly unfolds each life, layer by layer, to reveal the secret that defines their existence.’
      • ‘Curtis also masterfully unfolds a portrait of the black working class in the Depression.’
      narrate, relate, recount, tell, reveal, make known, disclose, divulge, present, communicate, report, recite, portray, elaborate, spell out, give an account of, set forth, set out
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Old English unfealdan (see un-, fold).