- to draw back; start or shrink back, as in alarm, horror, or disgust.
- to spring or fly back, as in consequence of force of impact or the force of the discharge, as a firearm.
- to spring or come back; react (usually followed by on or upon): Plots frequently recoil upon the plotters.
- Physics. (of an atom, a nucleus, or a particle) to undergo a change in momentum as a result either of a collision with an atom, a nucleus, or a particle or of the emission of a particle.
- an act of recoiling.
- the distance through which a weapon moves backward after discharging.
Origin of recoil
SynonymsSee more synonyms for recoil on Thesaurus.com
- to coil again.
Origin of re-coil
Examples from the Web for recoil
“Technically, all guns have recoil,” Steve told me via email.
I noticed when watching Biathlon that the guns seem to have no recoil when fired.
Erupting into spontaneous song and having strangers fully embrace it rather than recoil?The First ‘Glee’ Without Cory Monteith Was Blissfully Joyous
September 27, 2013
If you shove a big government program down their throats they will recoil.Quote for the Day
January 29, 2013
Large numbers of Israelis recoil at such violence, according to polls.Fearing Public Backlash, Israeli Settlers Speak Out Against Their Own
June 29, 2012
You permit your heart (little did I think it was such a froward one) to recoil.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
The recoil, catching him in a bad posture, knocked him backward.The Leopard Woman
Stewart Edward White
Shocked by the sound of my own name, I was ready to recoil abashed.Tales And Novels, Volume 4 (of 10)
Doubtless the self-respect of the woman was in no way wounded by the master's recoil.Miracles of Our Lord
When events occur which disturb my life, I always have a movement of recoil.My Double Life
- to jerk back, as from an impact or violent thrust
- (often foll by from) to draw back in fear, horror, or disgustto recoil from the sight of blood
- (foll by on or upon) to go wrong, esp so as to hurt the perpetrator
- (of a nucleus, atom, molecule, or elementary particle) to change momentum as a result of the emission of a photon or particle
- the backward movement of a gun when fired
- the distance moved
- the motion acquired by a particle as a result of its emission of a photon or other particle
- the act of recoiling
Word Origin and History for recoil
early 13c. (transitive) "force back, drive back," from Old French reculer "to go back, give way, recede, retreat" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *reculare, from Latin re- "back" (see re-) + culus "backside, bottom, fundament." Meaning "shrink back, retreat" is first recorded c.1300; and that of "spring back" (as a gun) in 1520s. Related: Recoiled; recoiling.
c.1300, "retreat," from Old French recul "recoil, backward movement, retreat," from reculer (see recoil (v.)). Meaning "back-kick of a firearm" is from 1570s.