Definition of ravel in English:


Line breaks: ravel
Pronunciation: /ˈrav(ə)l

verb (ravels, ravelling, ravelled; US ravels, raveling, raveled)

  • 1 [with object] (ravel something out) Untangle something: Davy had finished ravelling out his herring net
    More example sentences
    • Individual sheets are raveled out in advance by blowing air against the side of a stack of sheets to remove attractions between sheets.
  • 2 [no object] Unravel; fray: (as adjective ravelled) a shirt with a ravelled collar
    More example sentences
    • Pulses raced and temperatures soared as the game ravelled furiously before the heated supporters.
    • It would be nice if you could just ravel out into time.
    • If the fabric ravels easily after cutting, serge-finish the edges before constructing the garment.
  • 3 [with object] Confuse or complicate (a question or situation): I’d prefer you to keep your nose out of my business and not ravel things further
    More example sentences
    • The plot is sufficiently ravelled for the entry to Valhalla to have only ambiguous significance.


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  • A tangle, cluster, or knot: a ravel of knitting
    More example sentences
    • We discovered that whoever installed the pipes sealed the joints with duct tape because little silver ravels are visible at each section.
    • What results is a controlled ravel (because the cuts are made on the bias) and a fluffy chenille effect.


late Middle English (in the sense 'entangle, confuse'): probably from Dutch ravelen 'fray out, tangle'.

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