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1. Not packed: The unpacked clothing lay on the floor next to the suitcase.
2. (Usage Problem) Not yet having had the contents removed; not yet unpacked.
Usage Note: Sometimes past participles beginning with un- are used as adjectives with what would seem to be the opposite of their literal meaning. For example, unpacked is sometimes used to mean "not yet unpacked," as in "How chaotic the house still was, some boxes still unpacked from the January move" (Sue Miller). While such usages might appear to result from a momentary lapse of attention, these lapses must happen to copy editors as well as to writers because phrases like the new, still-unfolded leaves and the still unwrapped mummy occur with some frequency in edited sources. Most of the Usage Panel either does not mind or does not notice this ostensible mistake. In our 2004 survey, two-thirds or more accepted three different examples of this un-phenomenon, with 80 percent accepting A crate of pottery, still unpacked, had just been delivered to Pompeii from Gaul when the town was buried by the eruption of Vesuvius. · What makes people accept or not notice the fault in this construction? First, there is a natural tendency to collapse or avoid adjacent instances of an identical word element. So we say two daddy longlegs rather than two daddy longlegses. This is why many adjectives ending in -ly have identical adverbs or no adverb. Note that we do not say "leisurelily" or "heavenlily." Consequently, we say unpacked instead of un-unpacked. A second factor is the tendency to confuse multiple negatives, as in Don't fail to miss this one! and No head injury is too minor to ignore, where at least one layer of negativity is overlooked.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"Then they're all the sooner unpacked," declared Nancy.
They plodded days upon days and without end over the soft, unpacked snow.
Daylight was two days behind his schedule, and falling snow and unpacked trail kept him two days behind all the way to Forty Mile.
Marianne's pianoforte was unpacked and properly disposed of; and Elinor's drawings were affixed to the walls of their sitting room.
The officers' regimentals, resplendent with gold lace and embroidery as if purposely calculated to dazzle the islanders, looked as if just unpacked from their Parisian cases.
Philip unpacked his things and set out all his books.
He was a very quick and gay intelligence, with more sympathy for my love of our author's humor than for my love of his sentiment, and I can remember very well the twinkle of his little sharp black eyes, with their Tartar slant, and the twitching of his keenly pointed, sensitive nose, when we came to some passage of biting satire, or some phrase in which the bitter Jew had unpacked all the insult of his soul.
At length, in a haughty tone, he said, `I hope, madam, your servants have packed up all your things; for the coach will be ready by six in the morning.' My patience was totally subdued by this provocation, and I answered, `No, sir, there is a letter still remains unpacked;' and then throwing it on the table I fell to upbraiding him with the most bitter language I could invent.
He had unpacked the portmanteau long ago; and his elder children now played regularly about the yard, and everybody knew the baby, and claimed a kind of proprietorship in her.
He jumped up, and the leaden eyes which twinkled behind his mountainous cheeks leered horribly upon the food as he unpacked it from the basket.
To curb the menace of adulteration,the provincial food watchdog had banned the sale of unpacked spices across Punjab from January 1.
SAMSUNG GALAXY UNPACKED WE ALL know that the Galaxy Note 10 is on the way, and will be revealed at the Samsung Unpacked event next week.