Definition of unlay in US English:

unlay

verb

[with object]Nautical
  • Untwist (a rope) into separate strands.

    • ‘A knife is helpful here to get things started, but they unlay easily once you've gotten it going.’
    • ‘To form the splice, unlay the two ends of the rope to be joined and tape or whip the ends of each strand.’
    • ‘To minimize shrinkage and reduce unlaying when cut; the twine is fully stabilized, resulting in much easier handling.’
    • ‘Hercules ropes are pre-formed, to minimize unlaying and its resultant cost during further fabrication’
    • ‘This will cause the rope to unlay and to some degree distortion of the rope will occur.’
    untwine, disentwine, disentangle, unravel, unsnarl, unwind, unroll, uncoil, unreel, undo, spread out, unfurl, open, open out, lay out, straighten, straighten out, unkink
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Origin

Early 18th century: from un- (expressing reversal) + lay.

Pronunciation

unlay

/ˌənˈlā//ˌənˈleɪ/