verb (used with or without object)
- to coil again.
verb (used without object)
- to draw back; start or shrink back, as in alarm, horror, or disgust.
- to spring or fly back, as in consequence of force of impact or the force of the discharge, as a firearm.
- to spring or come back; react (usually followed by on or upon): Plots frequently recoil upon the plotters.
- Physics. (of an atom, a nucleus, or a particle) to undergo a change in momentum as a result either of a collision with an atom, a nucleus, or a particle or of the emission of a particle.
- an act of recoiling.
- the distance through which a weapon moves backward after discharging.
verb (rɪˈkɔɪl) (intr)
- to jerk back, as from an impact or violent thrust
- (often foll by from) to draw back in fear, horror, or disgustto recoil from the sight of blood
- (foll by on or upon) to go wrong, esp so as to hurt the perpetrator
- (of a nucleus, atom, molecule, or elementary particle) to change momentum as a result of the emission of a photon or particle
noun (rɪˈkɔɪl, ˈriːkɔɪl)
- the backward movement of a gun when fired
- the distance moved
- the motion acquired by a particle as a result of its emission of a photon or other particle
- the act of recoiling
c.1300, “retreat,” from Old French recul “recoil, backward movement, retreat,” from reculer (see recoil (v.)). Meaning “back-kick of a firearm” is from 1570s.
early 13c. (transitive) “force back, drive back,” from Old French reculer “to go back, give way, recede, retreat” (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *reculare, from Latin re- “back” (see re-) + culus “backside, bottom, fundament.” Meaning “shrink back, retreat” is first recorded c.1300; and that of “spring back” (as a gun) in 1520s. Related: Recoiled; recoiling.