As one of the 39 Melachot, untying refers to the untying of any permanent knot. If a knot is not made to be permanent, it may be untied. This is true even if it is a permanent type knot. Thus, for example, if one's shoes accidentally become knotted, they may be untied.

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Most of this information is taken from the book "SABBATH Day of Eternity" by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, published by NCSY. In the book itself, there are notes that refer the reader to detailed footnotes. I am lucky to have found such a clear, concise manual with these brief overviews of laws so vast and complex there are Rabbis that specialize in them.

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