from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To open and spread out (something folded); extend.
  • intransitive verb To remove the coverings from; disclose to view.
  • intransitive verb To reveal gradually by written or spoken explanation; make known.
  • intransitive verb To become spread out; open out.
  • intransitive verb To develop or occur as a series of events or stages.
  • intransitive verb To be revealed gradually to the understanding.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To open the folds of; expand; spread out; change from a folded condition, in any sense of the word fold. To lay open to view or contemplation; make known in all the details; develop; disclose; reveal: as, to unfold one's designs; to unfold the principles of a science.
  • To show, or let be seen; display.
  • To become opened out; be spread apart; become disclosed or developed; develop itself.
  • To release from a fold or pen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To open; to expand; to become disclosed or developed.
  • transitive verb To open the folds of; to expand; to spread out.
  • transitive verb To open, as anything covered or close; to lay open to view or contemplation; to bring out in all the details, or by successive development; to display; to disclose; to reveal; to elucidate; to explain.
  • transitive verb To release from a fold or pen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To undo a folding.
  • verb intransitive To turn out to happen; to develop.
  • verb transitive To reveal.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb develop or come to a promising stage
  • verb spread out or open from a closed or folded state
  • verb open to the view
  • verb extend or stretch out to a greater or the full length


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word unfold.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.