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

  • intransitive verb To withdraw (a rope, for example) from an opening, such as a block or thimble.
  • intransitive verb To become unreeved.
  • intransitive verb To unreeve a rope.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Nautical, to withdraw or take out (a rope) from a block, thimble, etc.

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

  • transitive verb (Naut.) To withdraw, or take out, as a rope from a block, thimble, or the like.

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

  • verb transitive, nautical To withdraw or take out, as for example a rope from a block.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

un- +‎ reeve


  • But he carried all sail till the rotten main-sheet parted at the boom, and when he came up in the wind to lower the sail the main throat halyard refused to unreeve.

    Dick in the Everglades

  • Lower them down and let the falls unreeve, so that they will go adrift.

    The Wreck of the Titan or, Futility

  • Now, then, unreeve y'r halyards! all clear there! pass the end for'd outside the rigging! outside! you fools!

    Moran of the Lady Letty

  • He could not only splice a broken "fall," and repair the sheaves and friction-rollers in a hoisting-block, but whenever the rigging got tangled aloft he could spring up the derrick like a cat and unreeve the rope in an instant.

    Tom Grogan

  • "You can unreeve the tops'l halyards," replied the captain, quietly.

    Saved by the Lifeboat

  • At last, as I had repeatedly warned him, the mate singled him out one morning, and commanded him to mount to the main-truck, and unreeve the short signal halyards.

    Redburn. His First Voyage

  • "The rope has swollen, sir, and the pendants won't unreeve," cried the middy in agony.

    A Simpleton

  • Do you, Walter, make a rope fast round the bits; unreeve the fore halliards, they will suit best, and are new and strong.

    Captain Mugford Our Salt and Fresh Water Tutors

  • On examining it he found that he could unreeve some of the rope.

    The Rival Crusoes

  • We had first to unreeve all the ropes, and unbend all the sails.

    Peter Trawl The Adventures of a Whaler


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