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

v extend or stretch out to a greater or the full length

Unfold the newspaper”
extend, stretch, stretch out
open or straighten out; unbend
Type of:
change form, change shape, deform
assume a different shape or form

v spread out or open from a closed or folded state

open, spread, spread out
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

v develop or come to a promising stage

blossom, blossom forth, blossom out
Type of:
grow, progress, unfold, or evolve through a process of evolution, natural growth, differentiation, or a conducive environment

v open to the view

“A walk through town will unfold many interesting buildings”
Type of:
bring out, reveal, uncover, unveil
make visible

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