recoil

verb
re·​coil | \ ri-ˈkȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce recoil (audio) \
recoiled; recoiling; recoils

Definition of recoil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to fall back under pressure
b : to shrink back physically or emotionally
2 : to spring back to or as if to a starting point : rebound
3 obsolete : degenerate

recoil

noun
re·​coil | \ ˈrē-ˌkȯi(-ə)l How to pronounce recoil (audio) , ri-ˈkȯi(-ə)l\

Definition of recoil (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or action of recoiling especially : the kickback of a gun upon firing
2 : reaction the recoil from the rigors of Calvinism— Edmund Wilson

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Synonyms for recoil

Synonyms: Verb

blench, cringe, flinch, quail, shrink, squinch, wince

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Choose the Right Synonym for recoil

Verb

recoil, shrink, flinch, wince, blench, quail mean to draw back in fear or distaste. recoil implies a start or movement away through shock, fear, or disgust. recoiled at the suggestion of stealing shrink suggests an instinctive recoil through sensitiveness, scrupulousness, or cowardice. shrank from the unpleasant truth flinch implies a failure to endure pain or face something dangerous or frightening with resolution. faced her accusers without flinching wince suggests a slight involuntary physical reaction (such as a start or recoiling). winced in pain blench implies fainthearted flinching. stood their ground without blenching quail suggests shrinking and cowering in fear. quailed before the apparition

Examples of recoil in a Sentence

Verb

We recoiled in horror at the sight of his wounded arm. He recoiled from her touch. The rifle recoiled and bruised my shoulder.

Noun

The gun has a sharp recoil.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Raburn recoiled at the idea, saying BART’s budget is too tight to start swapping money from one project to another. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Crusade for riders or risky gambit? BART director pushes to delay fare increase," 4 June 2019 This is mostly so the instruments are shielded from wayward cosmic rays, which can also cause nuclei recoils. Quanta Magazine, "Why the Best Place to Find Dark Matter May Be in a Rock," 7 Jan. 2019 In August of 2011, markets recoiled after S&P downgraded the U.S. credit rating. Ben Eisen, WSJ, "With Turkish Surprise, Markets Wobble—and Continue August Tradition," 10 Aug. 2018 Music of the loud, indecipherable sort, with lyrics sung in Cambodian, may appeal to a younger, hipper crowd, but more vintage ears will recoil in terror. Tom Titus, latimes.com, "Rock, revenge clash on SCR stage," 12 Mar. 2018 Those calls have also caused people on all sides to recoil, rightly, at the idea that imprisonment is somehow the normal price for political defeat. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Debate About the Best Way to Get Donald Trump Out of Office," 6 June 2019 By December, the chief executive of a major ad-buying agency was recoiling from Facebook privacy practices and promising to advise clients to steer clear. Nat Ives, WSJ, "From Digital Waste to Lead Paint, CMO Today’s Most-Read Stories of 2018 (and What Happened Next)," 27 Dec. 2018 With hyperburst, the G11’s recoil buffer prevented a strong recoil impulse from the three rounds, greatly improving accuracy over normal full-auto fire. Matthew Moss, Popular Mechanics, "We Got Our Hands on an HK G11, the Space-Age Rifle That Never Was," 20 Mar. 2019 Democrats have made a strategic decision to typecast Mr. Trump and anyone who supports him as hostile to immigration and therefore racist, in the expectation that some voters will recoil. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Beyond MAGA Hats," 23 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This would allow experimentalists to view a spectrum of recoils, corroborating their evidence and potentially allowing them to draw conclusions about WIMP mass, Freese said. Quanta Magazine, "Why the Best Place to Find Dark Matter May Be in a Rock," 7 Jan. 2019 With hyperburst, the G11’s recoil buffer prevented a strong recoil impulse from the three rounds, greatly improving accuracy over normal full-auto fire. Matthew Moss, Popular Mechanics, "We Got Our Hands on an HK G11, the Space-Age Rifle That Never Was," 20 Mar. 2019 All walk mowers have pull start (recoil) handles—even those with a key ignition. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The 7 Best Self-Propelled Lawn Mowers," 11 Apr. 2019 Mandus Group, a defense contractor that specializes in field artillery maintenance, figured out that the key to reducing howitzer weight was to reduce recoil. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "This Humvee-Mounted Howitzer Is Here To "Shoot and Scoot"," 20 Sep. 2017 What happens when a drone has a recoil momentum equal to the momentum of a fireball? Rhett Allain, WIRED, "The Physics of Launching Fireworks From a Drone," 4 July 2018 When asked to explain his actions, the linebacker who crushed the quarterback, forcing him from the game with injuries to the back and knee, delivered an answer that made many recoil: his coaches told him to do it. Ken Belson, New York Times, "The Football Hit Felt All Over Japan," 22 May 2018 Related The firearms industry is marketing silencers, also known as suppressors, as hearing protection for shooters and a way to soften the recoil on guns. Dan Frosch, WSJ, "Why More Gun Owners Use Silencers," 5 May 2018 Overall, DAMA’s signal should be strongest for the very-lowest-energy recoils. Natalie Wolchover, WIRED, "Trouble Detected in Infamous Dark Matter Signal," 18 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recoil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of recoil

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for recoil

Verb

Middle English reculen, recoilen, from Anglo-French reculer, recuiler, from re- + cul backside — more at culet

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Statistics for recoil

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for recoil

The first known use of recoil was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for recoil

recoil

verb

English Language Learners Definition of recoil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to quickly move away from something that is shocking, frightening, or disgusting : to react to something with shock or fear
of a gun : to move back suddenly when fired

recoil

noun

English Language Learners Definition of recoil (Entry 2 of 2)

: the sudden backward movement of a gun that happens when the gun is fired

recoil

verb
re·​coil | \ ri-ˈkȯil How to pronounce recoil (audio) \
recoiled; recoiling

Kids Definition of recoil

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to draw back He recoiled in horror.
2 : to spring back to or as if to a starting position The rifle recoiled upon firing.

recoil

noun

Kids Definition of recoil (Entry 2 of 2)

: a sudden backward movement or springing back (as of a gun just fired)

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More from Merriam-Webster on recoil

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recoil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recoil

Spanish Central: Translation of recoil

Nglish: Translation of recoil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of recoil for Arabic Speakers

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