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

    ‘there was a fascinating scene unfolding before me’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It would be a lie to say my son is unduly concerned by events unfolding in the Middle East.’
    • ‘We watched the events unfold in horrid fascination.’
    • ‘Watching events unfold in the global market, we've long warned that economic conditions were deteriorating.’
    • ‘I often think of them as an extension of Plan A, literally risk management as the incident or event unfolds.’
    • ‘When we come back, we'll get the latest from our reporters watching the parade of events unfolding in Iraq.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As the episodes unfold, we gradually see beneath the generic surface of the characters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first is more of a timeline, where the events are unfolding and the issues are starting to emerge.’
    • ‘It amazes me that watching events unfolding on my screen again affects me as powerfully still one year on.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Yesterday a tragedy unfolded, a tragic event that could have been avoided, one that led to the unfortunate loss of life.’
    • ‘As the event unfolds, and as the enquiry reveals details, I'd expect to see more of that.’
    • ‘The events unfold in reverse chronological order, starting with a car accident that leaves Georgia in a coma.’
    • ‘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.’
    develop, evolve, happen, take place, occur, transpire, unroll, emerge, grow, progress, mature, work out, untangle, bear fruit, blossom
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with 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.’
      • ‘Escaping the obvious, her works allow for a freedom of interpretation and reading, each unfolding an absorbing narrative.’
      • ‘The Sikh history, in all its varied phases, unfolds the genius of the Sikhs as a dynamic community.’
      • ‘Eternity will reveal and unfold the answer best.’
      • ‘Curtis also masterfully unfolds a portrait of the black working class in the Depression.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Traditionally, ambiguity in unfolding news requires flexibility to different aspects of the same story.’
      • ‘An exclusive report details what really happened - and unfolds the agony of a grieving guide who led his clients to their deaths.’
      • ‘Trained as a musician, Adams understood the richness of variation that could be unfolded from a single theme.’
      • ‘A poet's life compressed into this book unfolds ideas both minute and complex.’
      • ‘The complex large-scale forms of serious music unfold their narratives in time with an authority that cannot be hurried.’
      • ‘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 efficiency of the architect lies in unfolding the unexplainable details.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English unfealdan (see un-, fold).

Pronunciation

unfold

/ʌnˈfəʊld/