- 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 for reel on Thesaurus.com
- a lively Scottish dance.
- Virginia reel.
- music for either of these dances.
Origin of reel3
Examples from the Web for reel
Reel retraces his life and work with the spirit of curiosity and adventure that drove du Chaillu in the first place.This Week’s Hot Reads: March 11, 2013
March 11, 2013
Rosenthal filmed the group as they went about their daily lives and pitched the reel to several networks.Push Girls on Sundance: Summer’s Most Surprising Show
Maria Elena Fernandez
May 31, 2012
I felt like I was watching a reel of my own life—or at least my past—and I finished the entire season in one sitting.The Real 'Breaking Bad': Confessions of a Former Meth King
July 17, 2011
In fact, Sayles was a prize-winning fiction writer before he ever penned a screenplay or shot a reel of film.John Sayles Declares His Independence
May 9, 2011
Hollywood lost their reel queen last night after the premiere night of Burlesque.Ronni Chasen, a Hollywood Wonder Woman
November 16, 2010
But Pa had a sister who was reel good-lookin', an' some says you've got her eyes.The Bacillus of Beauty
It flung away from him, the wire screaming from the reel behind it.Salvage in Space
John Stewart Williamson
I reel in whenever practicable and kill the fish on the line.
Guide it to its place with the thumb, and run it from side to side of the reel like cotton on a spool.
There was a reel and there were sound-speakers to keep the ship from sounding like a grave.Pariah Planet
- 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 reel
"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.
"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.