Recoil meaning

rĭ-koil'
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.

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To spring back, as upon firing.
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To shrink back, as in fear or repugnance.
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To fall back; return.
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The backward action of a firearm upon firing.
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The act or state of recoiling; reaction.
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To fly back when released, as a spring, or kick back when fired, as a gun.
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To return to or as to the starting point or source; react (on or upon)
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The act of recoiling.
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The state of having recoiled; reaction.
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The distance through which a gun, spring, etc. recoils.
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A starting or falling back; a rebound; a shrinking.

The recoil of nature, or of the blood.

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The state or condition of having recoiled.
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(firearms) The amount of energy transmitted back to the shooter from a firearm which has fired. Recoil is a function of the weight of the weapon, the weight of the projectile, and the speed at which it leaves the muzzle.
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(intransitive, now rare) To retreat before an opponent. [from 14th c.]
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Milton.

Evil on itself shall back recoil.

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De Quincey.

The solemnity of her demeanor made it impossible [...] that we should recoil into our ordinary spirits.

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To pull back, especially in disgust, horror or astonishment. [from 16th c.]

He recoiled in disgust when he saw the mess.

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Origin of recoil

  • Middle English recoilen from Old French reculer re- re- cul buttocks (from Latin cūlus (s)keu- in Indo-European roots)
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • From Old French reculer.
    From Wiktionary