Word forms: unravels
Definitionsregional note: in AM, use unraveling, unraveled
1. verb If something such as a plan or system unravels, it breaks up or begins to fail. [V] ⇒ His government began to unravel because of a banking scandal. [V] ⇒ When she returned to America, the marriage unravelled. 2. ergative verb & verb If you unravel something that is knotted, woven, or knitted, or if it unravels, it becomes one straight piece again or separates into its different threads. [V n] ⇒ He was good with his hands and could unravel a knot or untangle yarn that others wouldn't even attempt. [V] ⇒ The stairway carpet is so frayed it threatens to unravel. 3. ergative verb & verb If you unravel a mystery or puzzle, or if it unravels, it gradually becomes clearer and you can work out the answer to it. [V n] ⇒ A young mother has flown to Iceland to unravel the mystery of her husband's disappearance. [V] ⇒ Gradually, with an intelligent use of flashbacks, Yves' story unravels.
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © Harper Collins Publishers