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

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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 Some are for smaller shooters more sensitive to recoil, others are for long range shooting, while still others are for close range self defense. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "A Guide to Every Type of Gun," 24 Dec. 2020 The relentless media attention that the argument with Green received prompted Durant to further recoil. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Kevin Durant to face his old Warriors teammates and the complicated legacy he left behind," 21 Dec. 2020 Many Georgians across racial lines are proud to claim a New South identity and may recoil from anything that smacks of overt race-baiting. New York Times, "Republicans Make Clear Their Georgia Senate Strategy: Attack Warnock," 7 Dec. 2020 To recoil, to drop, to dowse, to chill, to seek help. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, "Something Was Wrong. My Nightgown Was in Flames," 10 Dec. 2020 Coleman didn’t recoil from the heat of those closing moments. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Matt Coleman’s game-winner propels No. 17 Texas to first Maui Invitational title," 2 Dec. 2020 Overall the shotgun balances extremely well and manages recoil like a champ. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Best of the Best: The Top Hunting and Fishing Gear of 2020," 20 Nov. 2020 The spring will then recoil and push the OSIRIS-REx away like a pogo stick before the craft fires its thrusters and returns to its parking orbit above the asteroid’s surface. Jonathan O'callaghan, Scientific American, "NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Seeks to Grab a Piece of Asteroid Bennu," 16 Oct. 2020 And there are dramatic moments when Nausicaä’s mask falls off in the Toxic Jungle, which lead my daughter and me, newly sensitive to the dangers of being maskless, to recoil in heartfelt horror. Ryu Spaeth, The New Republic, "Hayao Miyazaki’s Viral Stories," 19 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The 20-gauge Waterfowl Hunter version with camo synthetic stock is matched with Browning/Winchester’s very effective Inflex recoil pad. Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, "The Best 20-Gauge Shotguns for Hunting Waterfowl," 30 Nov. 2020 And over time, all recoil adds up to wear out scopes. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "How to Buy Your First Nice Hunting Rifle," 2 Nov. 2020 Carlson's Cremator waterfowl chokes come in both recoil-reducing ported and economical non-ported models. Alex Robinson, Outdoor Life, "The Waterfowl Hunter’s Holiday Gift Guide," 16 Nov. 2020 The rear of the recoil spring assembly has a button the protrudes from the rear of the dust cover, and when depressed, the cover can be lifted off of the back of the receiver. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "The Savage A22 BNS-SR Brings “Real Rifle Feel” in a .22 LR Platform," 28 Nov. 2020 All this comes with modest recoil and fairly good barrel life. David E. Petzal, Field & Stream, "The 4 Best Wildcat Rifle Cartridges Ever," 26 Oct. 2020 Each keypress delivers a generous amount of recoil, which bounces the key back up. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "The new Silicon-powered MacBook Air sets a new standard for Apple laptops," 17 Nov. 2020 Perhaps that’s why Weber built into his conception of power the recoil of institutions. Corey Robin, The New Yorker, "The Professor and the Politician," 12 Nov. 2020 The trademark Monte Carlo stock, with its reverse-slope comb, is comfortable and mitigates the amount of cheek slap the shooter experiences under recoil, and is part of the reason the rifle handles so well. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "We Tested the Best-Selling Affordable Deer Rifles, Scopes, and Ammo. Here Are Our Top Picks," 6 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for recoil

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for recoil

Last Updated

29 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recoil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recoil. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for recoil

recoil

verb
How to pronounce recoil (audio)

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
How to pronounce recoil (audio)

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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Comments on recoil

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