• Recoil


    • Rhymes: -ɔɪəl, -ɔɪl


    From Old French reculer.

    Full definition of recoil



    (plural recoils)
    1. A starting or falling back; a rebound; a shrinking.the recoil of nature, or of the blood
    2. The state or condition of having recoiled.
      • F. W. RobertsonThe recoil from formalism is skepticism.
    3. (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.


    1. (intransitive, now rare) To retreat before an opponent. from 14th c.
      • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, V.11:that rude rout ... forced them, how ever strong and stout
        They were, as well approv'd in many a doubt,
        Backe to recule ...
    2. (obsolete, intransitive) To retire, withdraw. 15th-18th c.
      • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, I.x:Ye both forwearied be: therefore a whyle
        Iread you rest, and to your bowres recoyle.
      • MiltonEvil on itself shall back recoil.
      • De QuinceyThe solemnity of her demeanor made it impossible ... that we should recoil into our ordinary spirits.
    3. To pull back, especially in disgust, horror or astonishment. from 16th c.He recoiled in disgust when he saw the mess.

    Derived terms


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