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unfold [transitive, intransitive] unfold (something) to spread open or flat something that has previously been folded; to become open and flat

to unfold a map

She unfolded her arms.


Say you have just bought a phone that was packed into a box. You then try to make the box spread open as the below picture:

enter image description here

Now, My little child asked me "what is it"?

I answered "it is an unfolded box"

is it ok to say "it is an unfolded box"?

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It isn't wrong. "Unfolded" is the opposite of folded though - do you fold the card to put it back into a box?

I would probably call it a flattened box. In fact, when cardboard boxes are sold in this form they are usually called flat boxes or flat-packed boxes.

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  • I would generally use flattened for a box crushed flat. I would probably say "un-assembled", "disassembled" or even "box that was taken apart".
    – pboss3010
    Mar 6, 2020 at 16:08
  • If you performed the action "unfold" on X, it's fair to say it's unfolded. If it was shipped to you in that way, it hasn't been unfolded so flattened in that case is better.
    – LawrenceC
    Mar 6, 2020 at 17:11

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