recoil

verb
re·coil | \ri-ˈkȯi(-ə)l \
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, 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

Now, King hopes that Trump realizes the conservative base will recoil at anything resembling amnesty. Paul Kane, Anchorage Daily News, "Congress' record on immigration is repeated failures," 24 June 2018 But just a few milliseconds after impact, the droplet forms a cavity that recoils and creates a small column of liquid. Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, "Here’s What Makes a Dripping Faucet Go ‘Plink’," 22 June 2018 Colbert joked that not everyone eats carbs, to which Schumer recoiled in mock-horror and shock. Amy Mackelden, Marie Claire, "Amy Schumer's Honeymoon Was Filled With Pasta and Wine," 10 Apr. 2018 Meanwhile, oil prices recoiled Tuesday following Pompeo’s remarks. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: How Brett Kavanaugh could rein in environmental rules on the Supreme Court," 11 July 2018 Taking the state’s official statements at face value, friends and colleagues recoiled in shock, and news of his death filled the airwaves. The Economist, "Plots and sackings in Ukraine," 31 May 2018 But others recoiled, saying the scooters were dangerous, cluttered the sidewalks, littered the landscape, and that the tech companies were unfairly using public roadways to run a business. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF supervisors pass law to regulate scooters that have descended on city," 17 Apr. 2018 Many Democratic strategists recoiled at their party’s embrace of a proposal so radical in its branding, and ill-defined in its details. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Abolishing ICE Is About As Popular As Trump’s Immigration Agenda," 11 July 2018 That is, most of us, by default, recoil at the notion of self-harm. Julia Belluz, Vox, "How to help someone who might be at risk of suicide," 8 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Those policy concerns are reinforcing the cultural and stylistic suburban recoil from Trump visible in both polls and the 2017 election results from Virginia to Alabama. Ronald Brownstein, CNN, "Small-town America has gotten an economic jolt under Trump," 20 Mar. 2018 Such bump-fire devices use the recoil of a semiautomatic firearm to rapidly pull the trigger, mimicking fully automatic firing. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Ban bump stocks? Justice Department moves to make them illegal to own or sell," 10 Mar. 2018 This device involved a spring — basically, the recoil of the gun would compress the spring, and then the spring would push the gun back forward into the user’s trigger finger. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Trump is talking about doing something that might be illegal — again," 27 Feb. 2018 Miami Herald reporter Chuck Rabin tries out the simulator using a Glock pistol with a recoil kit designed to be used in simulators at the Miami-Dade police firearms training facility. Charles Rabin, miamiherald, "Even with years of training, stopping live shooter is incredibly hard, experts say | Miami Herald," 15 Mar. 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

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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 \
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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