verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to form rings, spirals, etc.; gather or retract in a circular way: The snake coiled, ready to strike.
to move in or follow a winding course: The river coiled through the valley.


Origin of coil

First recorded in 1605–15; perhaps variant of cull
Related formscoil·a·ble, adjectivecoil·a·bil·i·ty, nounun·coiled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for coiling

Historical Examples of coiling

  • They were overhauling and coiling down what looked like a long rubber hose.

    The Island Mystery

    George A. Birmingham

  • Looking round, I saw the Englishman engaged in coiling a rope close to me.

    In the Days of Drake

    J. S. Fletcher

  • He went near to her, and crouched down, coiling his blue neck.

    Wintry Peacock

    D. H. Lawrence

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

  • The coiling and management of the warp was of the utmost importance.

    All Afloat

    William Wood

British Dictionary definitions for coiling




to wind or gather (ropes, hair, etc) into loops or (of rope, hair, etc) to be formed in such loops
(intr) to move in a winding course


something wound in a connected series of loops
a single loop of such a series
an arrangement of pipes in a spiral or loop, as in a condenser
an electrical conductor wound into the form of a spiral, sometimes with a soft iron core, to provide inductance or a magnetic fieldSee also induction coil
an intrauterine contraceptive device in the shape of a coil
the transformer in a petrol engine that supplies the high voltage to the sparking plugs
Derived Formscoiler, noun

Word Origin for coil

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




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

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for coiling



"to wind," 1610s, from Middle French coillir "to gather, pick," from Latin colligere "to gather together" (see collect). Meaning specialized perhaps in nautical usage. Related: Coiled; coiling.



1620s, from coil (v.). Related: Coils.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper