To unfold is to open or reveal, the way a small square of paper might unfold into a large map, or the way the plot of a mystery novel can unfold into a clear picture of who the killer is.

Anything that's folded or compacted unfolds as it opens up and stretches out. So a yoga teacher might curl into a tight ball and then unfold his limbs, stretching them wide. Or you might unfold a tightly sealed secret note or a gently creased letter from your grandparents. Information can unfold figuratively, too, or become more open and clear: "As the details of the crime began to unfold, the detective got ready to make an arrest."

Definitions of unfold
  1. verb
    extend or stretch out to a greater or the full length
    Unfold the newspaper”
    synonyms: extend, stretch, stretch out
    open or straighten out; unbend
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    type of:
    change form, change shape, deform
    assume a different shape or form
  2. verb
    spread out or open from a closed or folded state
    synonyms: open, spread, spread out
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    fold, fold up, turn up
    bend or lay so that one part covers the other
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    spread apart
    spread by opening the leaves of
    spread out clothes on the grass to let it dry and bleach
    cut and spread open, as in preparation for cooking
    change from a crossed to an uncrossed position
    spread open or apart
    type of:
    cancel, annul, or reverse an action or its effect
  3. verb
    develop or come to a promising stage
    synonyms: blossom, blossom forth, blossom out
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    type of:
    grow, progress, unfold, or evolve through a process of evolution, natural growth, differentiation, or a conducive environment
  4. verb
    open to the view
    “A walk through town will unfold many interesting buildings”
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    type of:
    bring out, reveal, uncover, unveil
    make visible
Word Family

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