Definition of unfold in English:

unfold

verb

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

    ‘there was a fascinating scene unfolding before me’
    • ‘Well, I think we'll know how to measure success or failure as events unfold.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the event unfolds, and as the enquiry reveals details, I'd expect to see more of that.’
    • ‘Watching events unfold in the global market, we've long warned that economic conditions were deteriorating.’
    • ‘There was a huge outpouring of grief and shock as the events unfolded on Tuesday.’
    • ‘The Godfreys said yesterday it was difficult to process the information as the tragedy unfolded.’
    • ‘The opposite view is that managers have very limited ability to determine outcomes and that strategy emerges as events unfold.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It would be a lie to say my son is unduly concerned by events unfolding in the Middle East.’
    • ‘Yesterday a tragedy unfolded, a tragic event that could have been avoided, one that led to the unfortunate loss of life.’
    • ‘The first is more of a timeline, where the events are unfolding and the issues are starting to emerge.’
    • ‘That is how fast political events are unfolding in Zambia.’
    • ‘When we come back, we'll get the latest from our reporters watching the parade of events unfolding in Iraq.’
    • ‘I often think of them as an extension of Plan A, literally risk management as the incident or event unfolds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the episodes unfold, we gradually see beneath the generic surface of the characters.’
    • ‘The events unfold in reverse chronological order, starting with a car accident that leaves Georgia in a coma.’
    develop, evolve, happen, take place, occur, transpire, unroll, emerge, grow, progress, mature, work out, untangle, bear fruit, blossom
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    1. 2.1with object Reveal or disclose (thoughts or information)
      ‘Eva unfolded her secret exploits to Mattie’
      • ‘A poet's life compressed into this book unfolds ideas both minute and complex.’
      • ‘Eternity will reveal and unfold the answer best.’
      • ‘The meandering pace with which Benton unfolds his narrative reinforces the lesson.’
      • ‘An exclusive report details what really happened - and unfolds the agony of a grieving guide who led his clients to their deaths.’
      • ‘The book is designed to unfold its theme between these two brief poems: the theme of human love as a kind of miraculous agony.’
      • ‘Traditionally, ambiguity in unfolding news requires flexibility to different aspects of the same story.’
      • ‘Escaping the obvious, her works allow for a freedom of interpretation and reading, each unfolding an absorbing narrative.’
      • ‘The efficiency of the architect lies in unfolding the unexplainable details.’
      • ‘The complex large-scale forms of serious music unfold their narratives in time with an authority that cannot be hurried.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The plot of the play centres around the Doyle Family and many revelations are unfolded as the play unfolds its riveting story.’
      • ‘Curtis also masterfully unfolds a portrait of the black working class in the Depression.’
      • ‘The Sikh history, in all its varied phases, unfolds the genius of the Sikhs as a dynamic community.’
      • ‘Another favorite device is the making of narratives that unfold the spatial organization of pictures.’
      • ‘Trained as a musician, Adams understood the richness of variation that could be unfolded from a single theme.’
      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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Origin

Old English unfealdan (see un-, fold).

Pronunciation

unfold

/ʌnˈfəʊld/