reel

1 of 5

noun (1)

1
: a revolvable device on which something flexible is wound: such as
a
: a small windlass at the butt of a fishing rod for the line
b
chiefly British : a spool or bobbin for sewing thread
c
: a flanged spool for photographic film
especially : one for motion pictures
2
: a quantity of something wound on a reel

reel

2 of 5

verb (1)

reeled; reeling; reels

transitive verb

1
: to wind on or as if on a reel
2
: to draw by reeling a line
reel a fish in

intransitive verb

: to turn a reel
reelable adjective

reel

3 of 5

verb (2)

reeled; reeling; reels

intransitive verb

1
a
: to turn or move round and round
b
: to be in a whirl
2
: to behave in a violent disorderly manner
3
: to waver or fall back (as from a blow)
4
: to walk or move unsteadily

transitive verb

: to cause to reel

reel

4 of 5

noun (2)

: a reeling motion

reel

5 of 5

noun (3)

1
: a lively Scottish-Highland dance
also : the music for this dance
2

Examples of reel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Aggressive throttle, abrupt steering, and stabs at the brake pedal are met with spinning tires (or a slew of electronic aids reeling everything back in). Michael Harley, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 Crestfallen 49ers fans reeling from the previous night’s loss almost surely stumbled to their nearest sportsbook to place a bet on the 2024 49ers. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 In the days after Ella’s suicide, Solomon and his parents Martha and Chris Thomas were reeling. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2024 Kathryn Newton plays Lisa, a brainy misfit in ’80s suburbia still reeling from her mother’s gruesome murder by a masked killer. Keaton Bell, Vogue, 9 Feb. 2024 In the southern hemisphere, Chile has been reeling from drought for the better part of a decade. Somini Sengupta, New York Times, 5 Feb. 2024 California is reeling under the impact of a historic storm that has slammed into the western coast and unleashed floodwaters, isolated tornadoes and mudslides. Leo sands, Washington Post, 5 Feb. 2024 The nation is reeling after the mass shooting in Uvalde, resulting in the deaths of two teachers and 19 students. Amanda Joy Calhoun, Md, Parents, 4 Feb. 2024 Several buyers expressed interest in razing the Quonset hut and building another resort or bistro, a prospect that had locals reeling. Sam McManis, Sacramento Bee, 30 Jan. 2024
Noun
Creating a strong personal brand is no longer just about viral tweets, cute sixty-second reels, captivating Instagram stories or quirky TikToks. Danni White, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 After a defensive stop by the Engineers, Fisher then got a chance to add to his highlight reel, this time on the offensive end, hitting his attempt from beyond the arc to briefly tie the game at 12. Aidan Thomas, Baltimore Sun, 9 Feb. 2024 Instagram users adapted to reels after some tweaks. Thomas Germain / Gizmodo, Quartz, 6 Feb. 2024 This gift comes with a reel viewer, plus redemption codes to create your own reels featuring favorite photos of families, pets, vacations, and more. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 4 Feb. 2024 From March to October, anglers can enjoy the sound of smallmouth peeling line off their reels for hours on end using crankbaits, jerk baits, jigs, soft plastics, streamers, leeches, live worms and pretty much anything that looks like a crayfish. Jordan Rodriguez, Idaho Statesman, 31 Jan. 2024 Let your personality shine through in your reels: Most of my high-performing posts are reels that include music and a voiceover. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 19 Jan. 2024 His meeting in 1941 with Hitler was captured in a propaganda reel. Emily Bazelon, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2024 Hosts from the same Program will be included in a single entry with all Hosts, Co-Hosts, Anchors and Correspondents on the same submission and the reel must contain footage that highlights all entrants. Beatrice Verhoeven, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English hrēol; akin to Old Norse hræll weaver's reed, Greek krekein to weave

Verb (2)

Middle English relen, probably from reel, noun

Noun (3)

probably from reel entry 4

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

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

Verb (2)

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

Noun (2)

1572, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

circa 1585, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reel was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near reel

Cite this Entry

“Reel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reel. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

reel

1 of 5 noun
1
a
: a device that can be turned round and round and on which something flexible is wound
b
: a device which is set on the handle of a fishing pole and used for winding up or letting out the line
c
: a narrow spool with a rim used to guide photographic film or magnetic tape
2
: a quantity of something wound on a reel
3
: a frame for drying clothes

reel

2 of 5 verb
1
: to wind on or as if on a reel
2
: to pull (as a fish) by reeling a line
3
: to wind or turn a reel
reelable adjective
reeler noun

reel

3 of 5 verb
1
a
: to whirl around
reeling in a dance
b
: to be in a whirl
heads reeling with excitement
2
: to fall back (as from a blow)
3
: to walk or move unsteadily

reel

4 of 5 noun
: a reeling motion

reel

5 of 5 noun
: a lively dance originally of the Scottish Highlands
also : the music for this dance

More from Merriam-Webster on reel

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