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Synonym Chooser

How is the word recoil distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of recoil are blench, flinch, quail, shrink, and wince. While all these words 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

When could blench be used to replace recoil?

The words blench and recoil can be used in similar contexts, but blench implies fainthearted flinching.

stood their ground without blenching

When is flinch a more appropriate choice than recoil?

The meanings of flinch and recoil largely overlap; however, flinch implies a failure to endure pain or face something dangerous or frightening with resolution.

faced her accusers without flinching

When might quail be a better fit than recoil?

While the synonyms quail and recoil are close in meaning, quail suggests shrinking and cowering in fear.

quailed before the apparition

When can shrink be used instead of recoil?

While in some cases nearly identical to recoil, shrink suggests an instinctive recoil through sensitiveness, scrupulousness, or cowardice.

shrank from the unpleasant truth

When would wince be a good substitute for recoil?

The words wince and recoil are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, wince suggests a slight involuntary physical reaction (such as a start or recoiling).

winced in pain

Thesaurus Entries Near recoil

Cite this Entry

“Recoil.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on recoil

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