• IPA: /ɹɪˈkɔɪl/
    • IPA: /ˈɹiːkɔɪl/


  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.
    • The recoil from formalism is skepticism.
  3. (firearms) The 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.
  4. An escapement in which, after each beat, the scape-wheel recoils slightly.
Synonyms Translations
  • French: recul
  • German: Rückstoß
  • Italian: rinculo
  • Portuguese: coice, recuo
  • Russian: отда́ча
  • Spanish: retroceso

recoil (recoils, present participle recoiling; past and past participle recoiled)

  1. (intransitive) To pull back, especially in disgust, horror or astonishment. [from 16th c.]
    He recoiled in disgust when he saw the mess.
  2. (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 […]
  3. (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.
    • 1634 October 9 (first performance), [John Milton], H[enry] Lawes, editor, A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: […] [Comus], London: Printed [by Augustine Matthews] for Hvmphrey Robinson, […], published 1637, OCLC 228715864 ↗; reprinted as Comus: […] (Dodd, Mead & Company’s Facsimile Reprints of Rare Books; Literature Series; no. I), New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1903, OCLC 1113942837 ↗:
      Evil on itself shall back recoil.
    • The solemnity of her demeanor made it impossible […] that we should recoil into our ordinary spirits.
  4. (of a firearm) To quickly push back when fired
  • French: reculer
  • German: zurückschrecken
  • Italian: ritrarsi
  • Russian: отпря́дывать
  • Spanish: echarse atrás
  • German: zurückschlagen, einen Ruckschlag erzeugen
  • Italian: rinculare

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Offline English dictionary