[ koil ]
See synonyms for: coilcoiledcoiling on

  1. a connected series of spirals or rings that rope, wire, or the like has been formed into: A coil of string was wound around the pole.

  2. one of a connected series of spirals or rings that rope, wire, or the like has been formed into: Grab the first coil of the yarn and slip it over the other two.

  1. an arrangement of pipes wound up in a spiral or series, as in a radiator.

  2. a continuous pipe having inlet and outlet, or flow and return ends.

  3. Medicine/Medical. an intrauterine device.

  4. Electricity.

    • a conductor, such as a copper wire, wound up in a spiral or similar form.

    • a device made up of this type of conductor.

  5. Philately.

    • a stamp issued in a roll, usually of 500 stamps, and usually perforated vertically or horizontally only.

    • a roll of such stamps.

verb (used with object)
  1. to wind into continuous, regularly spaced rings one above the other: The first step of this craft is to coil a wire around a pencil.

  2. to wind on a flat surface into a connected series of rings, one atop the other: He coiled the rope on the deck.

  1. to gather (rope, wire, etc.) into loops: She coiled the garden hose and hung it on the hook.

verb (used without object)
  1. to form rings, spirals, etc.; gather or retract in a circular way: The snake coiled, ready to strike.

  2. to move in or follow a winding course: The river coiled through the valley.

Origin of coil

First recorded in 1605–15; of uncertain origin; perhaps from Middle French, Old French coillir, cuillir “to take” (modern French cueillir “to gather, pick”), from Latin colligere “to gather together”; see collect, cull

Other words from coil

  • coil·a·ble, adjective
  • coil·a·bil·i·ty [koil-uh-bil-i-tee] /ˌkɔɪl əˈbɪl ɪ ti/ noun
  • un·coiled, adjective

Other definitions for coil (2 of 2)

[ koil ]

  1. a noisy disturbance; commotion; tumult.

  2. trouble; bustle; ado.

Origin of coil

First recorded in 1560–70; origin uncertain Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use coil in a sentence

  • This motion consists almost wholly in apparently purposeless lashing and coiling movements, and continues for many hours.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
  • He dreamt of a serpent coiling around his throat, and when he strove to grasp it the slimy thing glided away from his clutch.

  • The finished product is delivered to a belt-driven coiling reel on which it is wound.

  • "That will come in useful," Garcia said, coiling it up on his arm.

  • Before the year was out, Schweigger, of Halle, multiplied the influence of the current on the needle by coiling the wire about it.

British Dictionary definitions for coil (1 of 2)


/ (kɔɪl) /

  1. to wind or gather (ropes, hair, etc) into loops or (of rope, hair, etc) to be formed in such loops

  2. (intr) to move in a winding course

  1. something wound in a connected series of loops

  2. a single loop of such a series

  1. an arrangement of pipes in a spiral or loop, as in a condenser

  2. an electrical conductor wound into the form of a spiral, sometimes with a soft iron core, to provide inductance or a magnetic field: See also induction coil

  3. an intrauterine contraceptive device in the shape of a coil

  4. the transformer in a petrol engine that supplies the high voltage to the sparking plugs

Origin of coil

C16: from Old French coillir to collect together; see cull

Derived forms of coil

  • coiler, noun

British Dictionary definitions for coil (2 of 2)


/ (kɔɪl) /

  1. the troubles and activities of the world (in the Shakespearean phrase this mortal coil)

Origin of coil

C16: of unknown origin

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012