Definition of unpick in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Undo the sewing of (stitches or a garment)

    ‘I unpicked the seams of his trousers’
    • ‘Turn the skirt to the right side and unpick the seam using an unpicking tool of sharp pointed scissors.’
    • ‘He smiled as he recalled Chris's first words on returning from his interrupted visit to his family - ‘I'm gone for one day, and the threads of the universe start unpicking behind me.’’
    • ‘Penelope-like, she both weaves a narrative and contextual account of Lippi's life and work and unpicks her handiwork, creatively frustrating the reader's expectation of biographical closure.’
    • ‘After unpicking the strap and removing M, I, C and H thinking they might come in useful some time, I was left with O, S, N and O, which I fiddled around with a bit before settling on SNOO, which somehow appealed to me.’
    • ‘My Auntie at one point unpicked and re-tied a section of it because she had the wrong shade of pink.’
    • ‘I spent hours at school making the cross-stitch ‘peg bag’ that everyone had to make only to stand up at the end of the lesson to find I'd attached it to my skirt and had to unpick it all.’
    • ‘Of course, you need to know beforehand that it fits, because you don't want to have to unpick all this stitching to alter it later.’
    • ‘Therefore I reasoned, the longer I left it before I started sewing, the longer it would be before I was squinting well into the night unpicking it.’
    • ‘Shy, plump, wearing a hand-knitted blue angora bolero, slaved over by my mother unpicked more than once to get it just right for the big occasion.’
    • ‘Surrounded by suitors who were after the absent master's wealth and the absent master's bed, she fobs them off by saying she must finish her weaving before making her mind up - and cannily unpicks it each night.’
    • ‘You would unpick the sides of your jeans and as soon as you sewed the material into it and put them on, you just thought you were gorgeous.’
    • ‘Now, having unpicked and screwed up several times (I'm on the second hand now), I am beginning to realise why I don't knit more often.’
    • ‘They decided to secure the banner for the night and then return to unpick it in the morning and attempt to pull it further up the building.’
    • ‘Yellow is the percussion of light beneath clouds heavy as persecution, the sweetness running from waxy cells, the body honeyed with softness when pain's gold embroidery is unpicked.’
    • ‘It's obvious that being interviewed is proving quite distracting so I offer to unpick it for her while she talks.’
    • ‘I found it useful to use the removed strap to increase leverage on the ‘loop’ side when unpicking it.’
    • ‘Start unpicking the elbows from those sweaters.’
    unbolt, unlatch, unbar, undo, unfasten, unseal, unclose, open, free, throw open, throw wide
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Carefully analyze the different elements of, especially in order to find faults.
      • ‘Yes it is a mess, and the guidelines tried to unpick some of those issues.’
      • ‘Robinson has written her autobiography, Memoirs Of An Unfit Mother, which unpicks her marriage to Wilson, who has edited the Evening Times, the Sunday Standard, the Times, and The Sporting Life.’
      • ‘Alice Miles in the Times has a stab at unpicking this.’
      • ‘It's not exactly the toughest metaphor in the world to unpick.’
      • ‘Linda Woolley unpicks some of these strands, and holds them up to view.’
      • ‘The main sources are provided by extant accounts of papal ceremonial, particularly those relating to enthronement and funeral, and Paravicini-Bagliani unpicks their intriguing ritual detail to great effect.’
      • ‘I've tried to unpick what the strange and fantastic phenomenon of Morrissey might represent psychologically, musically, sexually, and culturally.’
      • ‘I am sorry, you are going to have to really unpick this because you have wrapped up in one step what seemed to me to be about four.’
      • ‘Carefully unpicking the myth that has grown up around these games, Dougan illuminates an horrific period in Ukrainian history without succumbing to sensation.’
      • ‘This is void happiness, grey comfort missing love, where angels sit or lie, head in hands, where science kills the rainbow and unpicks the beauty of the Universe; it is ours for all time, ours to break and ours to kill.’
      • ‘Reinhart unpicks the Camp David negotiations which have been consistently held up by the Israeli government and the ‘international community’ as the prime example of the Palestinians refusing to compromise.’
      • ‘A detailed analysis of The Prince would be needed in order to unpick the ambivalent feelings Machiavelli had towards Cesare.’
      • ‘We have other good improvements in the bill relating to controls on sales to overseas people, which will go a long way to achieving a similar outcome, but it is very important that the underlying principle here be unpicked a little.’
      • ‘The more cerebral cinemagoer, however, is left in a conundrum as he or she tries to unpick the film's slapdash symbolism and script.’
      • ‘It would take a lifetime to unpick all of the critical readings that he offers in Orientalism.’
      • ‘You could try to unpick all the false assumptions in that last sentence, but frankly, its not worth it.’
      • ‘We cannot expect a child to analyse branding promotions or to unpick nutritional messages from advertising.’
      • ‘Judy Cox unpicks the United Nations report into Israeli army atrocities’
      • ‘In the time I have here I will unpick each one of them.’
      • ‘Reading the Sangsters' book, which unpicks every last aspect of downshifting, the process itself appears to be as full of trials and tribulations as the daily grind of city life.’