from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- transitive v. To separate the fibers or threads of (cloth, for example); unravel.
- transitive v. To clarify by separating the aspects of.
- transitive v. To tangle or complicate.
- intransitive v. To become separated into its component threads; unravel or fray.
- intransitive v. To become tangled or confused.
- n. A raveling.
- n. A broken or discarded thread.
- n. A tangle.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a snarl, complication
- v. to tangle; entangle; entwine confusedly, become snarled; thus to involve; perplex; confuse
- v. To make a minute and careful examination in order to straighten what is confused, unfold what is hidden, or clear up, clarify what is obscure; investigate; search; explore
- v. To pull apart (especially cloth or a seam); unravel
- v. In the APL language, to reshape (a variable) into a vector.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- transitive v. To separate or undo the texture of; to unravel; to take apart; to untwist; to unweave or unknit; -- often followed by out
- transitive v. To undo the intricacies of; to disentangle.
- transitive v. To pull apart, as the threads of a texture, and let them fall into a tangled mass; hence, to entangle; to make intricate; to involve.
- intransitive v. To become untwisted or unwoven; to be disentangled; to be relieved of intricacy.
- intransitive v. To fall into perplexity and confusion.
- intransitive v. To make investigation or search, as by picking out the threads of a woven pattern.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To tangle; entangle; entwine confusedly; involve in a tangled or knotted mass, as thread or hair mingled together loosely.
- Hence To involve; perplex; confuse.
- To treat confusedly; jumble; muddle.
- To disentangle; disengage the threads or fibers of (a woven or knitted fabric, a rope, a mass of tangled hair, etc.); draw apart thread by thread; unravel: commonly with out: in this sense (the exact contrary of the first sense), originally with out, ravel out being equivalent to unravel.
- To become entangled or snarled, as the ends of loose and dangling threads, or a mass of loose hair.
- Hence To become involved or confused; fall into perplexity.
- To curl up, as a hard-twisted thread.
- To become untwisted or disjoined, as the outer threads of a loosely made fabric or the strands of a rope; become disjoined thread by thread; fray, as a garment at the edges: commonly with out.
- Hence To suffer gradual disintegration or decay.
- To make a minute and careful examination in order to straighten what is confused, unfold what is hidden, or clear up what is obscure; investigate; search; explore.
- n. A raveled thread; a raveling.
- n. plural The broken threads cast away by women at their needlework.
- n. In weaving, a serrated instrument for guiding the separate yarns when being distributed and wound upon the yarn-beam of a loom, or for guiding the yarns wound on a balloon; an evener; a separator.
- n. Also, in Scotch spelling, raivel.
- Same as rabble.
- n. A snarl; a complication.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. disentangle
- n. a row of unravelled stitches
- n. French composer and exponent of Impressionism (1875-1937)
- v. tangle or complicate
Obsolete Dutch ravelen, from ravel, loose thread.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Dutch ravelen ("to tangle, fray out, unweave"), from Dutch rafel ("frayed thread") (Wiktionary)