Meaning of UNFOLD in English


“+ verb

Etymology: Middle English unfolden, from Old English unfealdan, from un- (II) + fealdan to fold — more at fold

transitive verb


a. : to open the folds of : spread or straighten out : expand

unfold a tablecloth

unfolded the map

unfold the arms

b. : to open wide (as a gate)

hell shall unfold … her widest gates — John Milton

c. : to remove (as a package) from the folds : unwrap

began unfolding a brown paper parcel — W.B.Yeats

2. : to open to the view or understanding : make known : reveal

stand and unfold yourself — Shakespeare

especially : to make clear by gradual disclosure and often by recital or explanation

unfolded his story through dialogue — W.K.Ferguson

unfolded to me his desires for the university — A.C.Benson

intransitive verb


a. : to open from a folded state : open out : expand

plane … wheels began to unfold — Howard Hunt

b. : blossom

buds beginning to unfold

c. : to move toward full development

if the … child were permitted to unfold amid rich and stimulating surroundings — Margaret Mead

2. : to open out gradually to the view : become visible or known

a panorama of carefully tilled farm lands … unfolds before the visitor's eyes — American Guide Series: Michigan

suppressed his comment and let the narrative unfold simply and objectively — R.A.Cordell

3. : to develop a parasitic vowel by anaptyxis


unfold , evolve , develop , elaborate , and perfect can mean in common to cause something to emerge from a state in which its potentialities are not apparent, are unrealized, or are incompletely realized, into a state where they are apparent or partly or fully realized. unfold usually suggests a natural process by which the true or complete character of something is unveiled or disclosed

a bud unfolds itself into a flower

hitherto chemistry has not succeeded in unfolding the principles by which metals are formed — Encyc. Americana

the creative spirit gains sustenance and vigor for its own unfolding — Edward Sapir

the episodes of this life began to unfold themselves in his mind — Fred Majdalany

evolve implies an unfolding gradually and in an orderly way, often suggesting a slowness and complexity of process, sometimes carrying strongly the idea of natural development by an inner process

slowly, through ages and centuries, we have evolved a picture of the world we live in — Fortune

the program we have evolved as a result of a year of deliberation is now complete in general outline — J.B.Conant

the new order which seemed to be evolving — E.M.Forster

the germinal situation out of which this book evolves — N.L.Rothman

develop , in this connection, implies a passing through several stages, stressing the unfolding, usually slow, of latent possibilities

the scientific writer must also have a broad point of view, developed by experience, reading, and reflection — C.E.Kellogg

the viscose process was developed from the inventions of three Englishmen — American Guide Series: Virginia

the quarrel grew hot, and finally developed into a lawsuit — Gilbert Highet

elaborate implies labor or effort to develop or realize the clear possibilities of something that is only in the germ or only partly formulated

only a system with order and progress in the heart of it could elaborate itself so perfectly and so intricately — J.A.Thomson

escapes death from surgical infection because a Frenchman, Pasteur, and a German, Koch, elaborated a new technique — R.B.Fosdick

did the tubercle bacillus elaborate some strange substance which tended to stimulate the mind — Harry Sylvester

perfect implies an unfolding or developing of something so that it stands as a complete or finished product

a series of complementary inventions, the phonograph, the moving picture, the gasoline engine, the steam turbine, the airplane, were all sketched in, if not perfected, by 1900 — Lewis Mumford

conditions required of both Japanese and Americans a relentless perfecting of such cooperative efforts — T.C.Mendenhall b. 1910

Synonym: see in addition solve .

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.