Definition of unknot in US English:



  • 1with object Release or untie the knot or knots in.

    ‘he swiftly unknotted his tie’
    • ‘In this second mode the enzyme is able to knot / unknot DNA molecules and catenate/decatenate DNA circles.’
    • ‘‘Fine,’ I laughed and began unknotting my coat, making sure to keep my red knit hat on tightly, covering my entire bun.’
    • ‘She unknotted her belt and looked over her shoulder.’
    • ‘Sweaty by the time I reached the top, I had to unknot my scarves and unzip my parka.’
    • ‘She nodded while unknotting the thin straw string holding the box closed.’
    • ‘She unknotted her belt and slipped off her robe.’
    • ‘Christopher watched as Sara continued to smile, unknotting the mess and then deftly performing the duty he'd tried himself.’
    • ‘Powerful foundations nobly unknot their wallets if it comes to the rescue of their religion.’
    • ‘She was trying to pay attention to what her host was saying, but she was being distracted by the fairies busily unknotting her tangled hair.’
    • ‘Doctors treated her hypertension with magnesium sulfate, while a medicine woman said prayers for her using a traditional sash that's knotted and unknotted during labor.’
    • ‘Instead he stooped to untie the young woman as fast as his iron-strong fingers could unknot her.’
    • ‘One might suggest that the positive trefoils formed after the first strand-passing reaction will be unknotted in the second round of the process.’
    • ‘Policymakers face a dilemma in unknotting this problem.’
    • ‘She smoothed her palms over her head, then unknotted her dress and rolled her shoulders back, letting the clothes slide to her ankles.’
    • ‘Therese unknotted the string and pulled off the brown paper, revealing a simple book, with a cover of blue fabric.’
    • ‘Bellybuttons tied by nurses at British hospitals within the last 32 years have favored a knot which is now known to be non-secure and liable to unknot itself over time.’
    • ‘People try to visit the neighbourhood doctor or unknot their eyelashes on their own.’
    • ‘She unknotted the sweater that was tied around her waist, and put it on to hide her arms.’
    • ‘She reaches up, unbuttons and sweeps the suit jacket off of his shoulders, coming back to unknot his tie and unbutton his shirt, peeling that off of him, and literally ripping his t-shirt off of him.’
    • ‘Are you trying to solve a particular question like whether this piece of string which is put together in a particular way can be unknotted?’
    untie, unchain, unfetter, unshackle, unmanacle, unyoke, unfasten, untether, unlace, undo, loosen, unloose, disentangle
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  • 2no object (of a muscle) relax after being tense and hard.

    ‘his shoulders unknotted’
    • ‘As the muscles in my back gradually unknotted, I slowly became able to think about what I was doing and to experiment to see if there was any left-right difference in the degree of relief offered by this vertical back rub.’
    • ‘She was still waiting for the muscles in her shoulders to unknot from the landmine scare.’
    • ‘Slowly, her muscles unknotted, and her the anxiety in her face seemed to scatter.’
    • ‘Finding the reason of his actions, her eyebrows unknot slowly.’
    • ‘We usually get there early and sit around waiting for ages to soundcheck, my stomach gently knotting and unknotting with impatience.’
    become less tense, become less rigid, become less stiff, loosen, slacken, ease
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