- a cylinder, frame, or other device that turns on an axis and is used to wind up or pay out something.
- a rotatory device attached to a fishing rod at the butt, for winding up or letting out the line.
- a spool on which film, especially motion-picture film, is wound.
- a roll of motion-picture film.
- a holder for roll film in a developing tank.
- a quantity of something wound on a reel.
- Chiefly British. a spool of sewing thread; a roller or bobbin of sewing thread.
- to wind on a reel, as thread, yarn, etc.
- to unwind (silk filaments) from a cocoon.
- to pull or draw by winding a line on a reel: to reel a fish in.
- reel off, to say, write, or produce quickly and easily: The old sailor reeled off one story after another.
- off the reel,
- without pause; continuously.
- without delay or hesitation; immediately.
Origin of reel1
- to sway or rock under a blow, shock, etc.: The boxer reeled and fell.
- to waver or fall back: The troops reeled and then ran.
- to sway about in standing or walking, as from dizziness, intoxication, etc.; stagger.
- to turn round and round; whirl.
- to have a sensation of whirling: His brain reeled.
- to cause to reel.
- an act of reeling; a reeling or staggering movement.
Origin of reel2
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for reeled
Poe and Dylan Thomas both wheeled and reeled until the index finger representing each of them collapsed.Robert Pinsky: The Comedy of Seamus Heaney
October 1, 2013
The NSA drama has reeled in a host of global grandstanders desperate for relevancy.Edward Snowden’s Parasites: Evo Morales, Julian Assange & More
July 5, 2013
On Wednesday, the collection of pictures by Mikki (pictured above), a chimpanzee, reeled in roughly $75,000 at Sotheby's.Monkey Business
June 6, 2013
Jay-Z is reinvigorated, witty, and good-humored, while West has reeled in some of his id-gone-haywire shtick.Best Music Albums of 2011: The Weeknd, Drake, Britney Spears, and More
December 31, 2011
Not bad for a rookie who kept smiling as she reeled off her best lines.Michele Bachmann Grabs GOP Presidential Debate Spotlight
June 14, 2011
Pepsy rose to her feet with a start, reeled, reached for a tree, and clutched it.Pee-wee Harris
Percy Keese Fitzhugh
We had reached the middle and were right in the vortex, when suddenly she reeled in her saddle.A Hero of Our Time
M. Y. Lermontov
Then he reeled suddenly, lost his balance and fell into darkness.A Breath of Prairie and other stories
Jean entered the room in such an exhausted state that he reeled as if he had been drunk.
At the first step he took he reeled and fell with his burden.
- any of various cylindrical objects or frames that turn on an axis and onto which film, magnetic tape, paper tape, wire, thread, etc, may be woundUS equivalent: spool
- angling a device for winding, casting, etc, consisting of a revolving spool with a handle, attached to a fishing rod
- a roll of celluloid exhibiting a sequence of photographs to be projected
- to wind (cotton, thread, etc) onto a reel
- (foll by in, out etc) to wind or draw with a reelto reel in a fish
- to sway, esp under the shock of a blow or through dizziness or drunkenness
- to whirl about or have the feeling of whirling abouthis brain reeled
- a staggering or swaying motion or sensation
- any of various lively Scottish dances, such as the eightsome reel and foursome reel for a fixed number of couples who combine in square and circular formations
- a piece of music having eight quavers to the bar composed for or in the rhythm of this dance
Word Origin and History for reeled
"to wind on a reel," late 14c., from reel (n.1). Verbal phrase reel off "recite without pause or effort" is from 1837. Fishing sense is from 1849. Related: Reeled; reeling.
"frame turning on an axis," especially one on which thread is wound, late Old English hreol "reel for winding thread," from Proto-Germanic *hrehulaz; probably related to hrægel "garment," and Old Norse hræll "spindle," from PIE *krek- "to weave, beat" (cf. Greek krokus "nap of cloth").
Specifically of the fishing rod attachment from 1726; of a film projector apparatus from 1896. Reel-to-reel type of tape deck is attested from 1958.
"to whirl around," late 14c., also "sway, swing, rock, become unsteady" (late 14c.), "stagger as a result of a blow, etc." (c.1400), probably from reel (n.1), on notion of "spinning." Of the mind, from 1796. Related: Reeled; reeling.