- To recoil is to spring back or back away.
- When you jump backwards in horror away from a dead body you have just spotted, this is an example of recoil.
- When a gun kicks back when fired, this is an example of recoil.
A woman recoils.
recoil definition by Webster's New World
- to draw back, fall back, or stagger back; retreat
- to start or shrink back, as in fear, surprise, or disgust
- to fly back when released, as a spring, or kick back when fired, as a gun
- to return to or as to the starting point or source; react (on or upon)
Origin: Middle English recoilen ; from Old French reculer ; from re-, back plush cul ; from Classical Latin culus, the anus, buttocks: see culet
- the act of recoiling
- the state of having recoiled; reaction
- the distance through which a gun, spring, etc. recoils
recoil definition by American Heritage Dictionary
intransitive verb re·coiled, re·coil·ing, re·coils
- To spring back, as upon firing.
- To shrink back, as in fear or repugnance.
- To fall back; return: “Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent” (Arthur Conan Doyle).
- The backward action of a firearm upon firing.
- The act or state of recoiling; reaction.
Origin: Middle English recoilen, from Old French reculer : re-, re- + cul, buttocks (from Latin cūlus; see (s)keu- in Indo-European roots).
- re·coilˈer noun