One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1ravel something outwith object Untangle or unravel something.‘Davy had finished raveling out his herring net’figurative ‘sleep raveled out the tangles of his mind’
entwine, interweave, interlace, interthread, interwind, intertwist, twist, coil, twirl, lace, braid, plait, knitView synonyms
- ‘Individual sheets are raveled out in advance by blowing air against the side of a stack of sheets to remove attractions between sheets.’
2no object Unravel; fray.‘a shirt with a raveled collar’
- ‘Even though fleece doesn't ravel, the rows of stitching lines need to be sewn on the bias to achieve a good bloom.’
- ‘If, as Shakespeare wrote, sleep knits up the raveled sleeve of care, then meditation orders the cluttered closet of life.’
- ‘If the fabric ravels easily after cutting, serge-finish the edges before constructing the garment.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘It would be nice if you could just ravel out into time.’
- ‘Press under the seam allowances on the edges of the pocket and finish those edges if your fabric ravels.’
- ‘His hand went instinctively to the cup holder, retrieving his raveled up fabric belt and tying it about his waist.’
- ‘There is no need to finish seams as fleece does not ravel.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘A poorly installed carpet may end up raveling at the edges or showing ripples.’
- ‘Knits don't ravel, so no seam finish is required.’
- ‘Wash the finished bag a few times, allowing the seam allowances to ravel.’
- ‘If your fabrics tend to ravel, serge the seam raw edges together.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The long pieced strips will be cut into sections and the short stitch length helps keep the seams from raveling.’
- ‘There was an unwilling groan, then sounds of sheets raveling.’
3with object Confuse or complicate (a question or situation).
make difficult, make more difficult, make complex, make complicated, mix upView synonyms
- ‘The plot is sufficiently ravelled for the entry to Valhalla to have only ambiguous significance.’
A tangle, cluster, or knot.‘a lovely yellow ravel of sunflowers’
- ‘What results is a controlled ravel (because the cuts are made on the bias) and a fluffy chenille effect.’
- ‘We discovered that whoever installed the pipes sealed the joints with duct tape because little silver ravels are visible at each section.’
Late Middle English (in the sense ‘entangle, confuse’): probably from Dutch ravelen ‘fray out, tangle’.
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