Definition of ravel in English:



  • 1ravel something outUntangle or unravel something.

    ‘Davy had finished raveling out his herring net’
    figurative ‘sleep raveled out the tangles of his mind’
    • ‘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, lace, braid, plait, knit
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  • 2Confuse or complicate (a question or situation)

    • ‘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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  • A tangle, cluster, or knot.

    ‘a lovely yellow ravel of sunflowers’
    • ‘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.’


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