reel

1
[reel]
See more synonyms for reel on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a cylinder, frame, or other device that turns on an axis and is used to wind up or pay out something.
  2. a rotatory device attached to a fishing rod at the butt, for winding up or letting out the line.
  3. Photography.
    1. a spool on which film, especially motion-picture film, is wound.
    2. a roll of motion-picture film.
    3. a holder for roll film in a developing tank.
  4. a quantity of something wound on a reel.
  5. Chiefly British. a spool of sewing thread; a roller or bobbin of sewing thread.
verb (used with object)
  1. to wind on a reel, as thread, yarn, etc.
  2. to unwind (silk filaments) from a cocoon.
  3. to pull or draw by winding a line on a reel: to reel a fish in.
Verb Phrases
  1. reel off, to say, write, or produce quickly and easily: The old sailor reeled off one story after another.
Idioms
  1. off the reel,
    1. without pause; continuously.
    2. without delay or hesitation; immediately.
    Also right off the reel.

Origin of reel

1
before 1050; (noun) Middle English rele, Old English hrēol; cognate with Old Norse hræll weaver's rod; (v.) Middle English relen, derivative of rele
Related formsreel·a·ble, adjective

reel

2
[reel]
verb (used without object)
  1. to sway or rock under a blow, shock, etc.: The boxer reeled and fell.
  2. to waver or fall back: The troops reeled and then ran.
  3. to sway about in standing or walking, as from dizziness, intoxication, etc.; stagger.
  4. to turn round and round; whirl.
  5. to have a sensation of whirling: His brain reeled.
verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to reel.
noun
  1. an act of reeling; a reeling or staggering movement.

Origin of reel

2
1300–50; Middle English relen, apparently derivative of rele reel1

Synonyms for reel

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3. See stagger.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for reeled

Contemporary Examples of reeled

Historical Examples of reeled

  • 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.

  • Jean entered the room in such an exhausted state that he reeled as if he had been drunk.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • At the first step he took he reeled and fell with his burden.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola


British Dictionary definitions for reeled

reel

1
noun
  1. 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
  2. angling a device for winding, casting, etc, consisting of a revolving spool with a handle, attached to a fishing rod
  3. a roll of celluloid exhibiting a sequence of photographs to be projected
verb (tr)
  1. to wind (cotton, thread, etc) onto a reel
  2. (foll by in, out etc) to wind or draw with a reelto reel in a fish
Derived Formsreelable, adjectivereeler, noun

Word Origin for reel

Old English hrēol; related to Old Norse hrǣll weaver's rod, Greek krekein to weave

reel

2
verb (mainly intr)
  1. to sway, esp under the shock of a blow or through dizziness or drunkenness
  2. to whirl about or have the feeling of whirling abouthis brain reeled
noun
  1. a staggering or swaying motion or sensation

Word Origin for reel

C14 relen, probably from reel 1

reel

3
noun
  1. 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
  2. a piece of music having eight quavers to the bar composed for or in the rhythm of this dance

Word Origin for reel

C18: from reel ²
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 reeled

reel

v.2

"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.

reel

n.1

"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.

reel

n.2

"lively Highland dance," 1580s, probably a special use of reel (n.1), which had a secondary sense of "a whirl, whirling movement" (1570s) or from reel (v.1). Applied to the music for such a dance from 1590s.

reel

v.1

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper