“Come Undone” – Meaning Explained (With Examples)

At some point or another, we may have heard or seen the use of the phrase to “come undone”. However, there may be some lingering confusion as to what this phrase truly means. Therefore, this article will be highlighting everything someone could need to know about this particular phrase.

What Does “Come Undone” Mean?

The phrase “come undone” can hold both a figurative and a literal meeting. In a figurative sense, it means that something has either not gone as it was planned, or has entirely failed in some way. Essentially, it means for something to fall apart, ruin, or fail.

come undone meaning

We can consider plans to “come undone”, especially when someone doesn’t follow through with them or backs out last second. At the same time, we can consider a person to “come undone” when they have lost their self-control, confidence, or their composure.

In a literal sense, we can consider to “come undone” as referring to something becoming untied, unfastened, unwrapped, etc. We may also use this literally when something has broken apart or disintegrated.

We can see that Cambridge Dictionary defines to be “undone” as to be without hope for the future, having experienced great disappointment, loss of money, etc.

Examples Of How To Use “Come Undone” In A Sentence

We will now go over the following examples, that showcase how we can use this particular phrase:

  • Over time they lose elasticity, the fabric entirely stretches and the stitching starts to come undone.
  • I am beginning to come undone from losing every bit of my self-confidence and I can’t begin to explain how depressed it’s made me feel.
  • Once you have removed the garbage bag from the can, tie it up tightly, so that it does not come undone when it’s put out at the curb.
  • He began to come undone the moment he realized his wife would not take him back and refused to support him.
  • The lack of self-confidence, self-love, and self-care began to crush her, which caused her to emotionally come undone.
  • She has come undone since discovering that her husband was having an affair with her best friend for the last few years.
  • Be careful with that gift because if the wrapping is to come undone, they will be able to see what is on the inside.
  • The spine of the book began to tear and come undone since she had read the book literally hundreds of times.
  • Losing both of her parents within a few months of one another has caused her to come undone emotionally and she no longer wants to discuss the situation with anyone.
  • To come undone, is to just give up on yourself and I know that you a stronger than that, so keep your head held high!

Where Is “Come Undone” Known From?

The phrase “come undone” derives from the English language. This phrase can be found as being used in both American English and British English. The use of the phrase “come undone” is relatively popular in present decades, however, this was not always the case.

As we can see from the data shown on Google Ngram Viewer, from the 1800s to the 1980s, the use of the phrase “come undone” was very minuscule or sparse. However, in the most recent decades, this has become a very commonly used or popular phrase. This is much to do with the heightened use of figurative speech or writing in recent years.

come undone origin

The use of “come undone” in recent decades may have an abundance to do with the popular use of this phrase in pop culture – in particular, music. One of the most famous songs in this category is “Come Undone” by Duran Duran. This song was released in 1993 and was incredibly popular, as it was the hit single from his second album.

Previously, the literal speech was much more commonly used, which could certainly contribute to “come undone” not being used very often.

Is It “Come Undone” Or “Come-Undone”?

Generally speaking, we will almost always see this phrase written as “come undone” as opposed to “come-undone”. We use a hyphen in a compound modifier, which is made up of two words that work together to function like one adjective.

The terms “come” and “undone” do not require a hyphen because they are not working together for a single unit of meaning. We are expressing that something has “come undone”, which are two separate terms with two separate meanings.

It is not necessarily incorrect to add the hyphen, nor will it change the meaning of this phrase, however, it is unnecessary and quite redundant in use.