from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To withdraw (a rope, for example) from an opening, such as a block or thimble.
  • intransitive verb To become unreeved.
  • intransitive verb To unreeve a rope.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Nautical, to withdraw or take out (a rope) from a block, thimble, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb (Naut.) To withdraw, or take out, as a rope from a block, thimble, or the like.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive, nautical To withdraw or take out, as for example a rope from a block.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

un- +‎ reeve


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  • But he carried all sail till the rotten main-sheet parted at the boom, and when he came up in the wind to lower the sail the main throat halyard refused to unreeve.

    Dick in the Everglades A. W. Dimock

  • Lower them down and let the falls unreeve, so that they will go adrift.

    The Wreck of the Titan or, Futility Morgan Robertson 1888

  • Now, then, unreeve y'r halyards! all clear there! pass the end for'd outside the rigging! outside! you fools!

    Moran of the Lady Letty Frank Norris 1886

  • He could not only splice a broken "fall," and repair the sheaves and friction-rollers in a hoisting-block, but whenever the rigging got tangled aloft he could spring up the derrick like a cat and unreeve the rope in an instant.

    Tom Grogan Francis Hopkinson Smith 1876

  • "You can unreeve the tops'l halyards," replied the captain, quietly.

    Saved by the Lifeboat 1859

  • At last, as I had repeatedly warned him, the mate singled him out one morning, and commanded him to mount to the main-truck, and unreeve the short signal halyards.

    Redburn. His First Voyage Herman Melville 1855

  • "The rope has swollen, sir, and the pendants won't unreeve," cried the middy in agony.

    A Simpleton Charles Reade 1849

  • Do you, Walter, make a rope fast round the bits; unreeve the fore halliards, they will suit best, and are new and strong.

    Captain Mugford Our Salt and Fresh Water Tutors William Henry Giles Kingston 1847

  • On examining it he found that he could unreeve some of the rope.

    The Rival Crusoes William Henry Giles Kingston 1847

  • We had first to unreeve all the ropes, and unbend all the sails.

    Peter Trawl The Adventures of a Whaler William Henry Giles Kingston 1847


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