Definition of


  1. (noun, event) the backward jerk of a gun when it is fired
  2. (noun, event) a movement back from an impact
  3. (verb, motion) draw back, as with fear or pain
  4. (verb, social) come back to the originator of an action with an undesired effect
  5. (verb, motion) spring back; spring away from an impact
    These particles do not resile but they unite after they collide
  6. (verb, contact) spring back, as from a forceful thrust

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Recoil

  1. early 13c., "force back," from O.Fr. reculer "to go back, recede, retreat," from V.L. *reculare, from L. re- "back" + culus "backside." Meaning "shrink back" is first recorded 1510s, and that of "spring back" (as a gun) in 1520s. The noun is attested from early 14c. more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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