recoil
I. intransitive verb Etymology: Middle English reculen, recoilen, from Anglo-French reculer, recuiler, from re- + cul backside — more at culet Date: 14th century 1. a. to fall back under pressure b. to shrink back physically or emotionally 2. to spring back to or as if to a starting point ; rebound 3. obsolete degenerate Synonyms: recoil, shrink, flinch, wince, blench, quail mean to draw back in fear or distaste. recoil implies a start or movement away through shock, fear, or disgust <
recoiled at the suggestion of stealing
>
. shrink suggests an instinctive recoil through sensitiveness, scrupulousness, or cowardice <
shrank from the unpleasant truth
>
. flinch implies a failure to endure pain or face something dangerous or frightening with resolution <
faced her accusers without flinching
>
. wince suggests a slight involuntary physical reaction (as a start or recoiling) <
winced in pain
>
. blench implies fainthearted flinching <
stood their ground without blenching
>
. quail suggests shrinking and cowering in fear <
quailed before the apparition
>
. II. noun Date: 14th century 1. the act or action of recoiling; especially the kickback of a gun upon firing 2. reaction <
the recoil from the rigors of Calvinism — Edmund Wilson
>

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Recoil — Re*coil , n. 1. A starting or falling back; a rebound; a shrinking; as, the recoil of nature, or of the blood. [1913 Webster] 2. The state or condition of having recoiled. [1913 Webster] The recoil from formalism is skepticism. F. W. Robertson.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • recoil — vb 1 Recoil, shrink, flinch, wince, blench, quail can all mean to draw back from something, usually through fear, faintheartedness, or disgust. Recoil more than any of the succeeding terms suggests the physical signs of such drawing back or the… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Recoil — Re*coil (r[ e]*koil ), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Recoiled} (r[ e]*koild ); p. pr. & vb. n. {Recoiling}.] [OE. recoilen, F. reculer, fr. L. pref. re re + culus the fundament. The English word was perhaps influenced in form by accoil.] [1913 Webster] 1 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • recoil — ► VERB 1) suddenly spring back or flinch in fear, horror, or disgust. 2) feel such emotions at the thought of something. 3) spring back through force of impact or elasticity. 4) (recoil on/upon) have an adverse consequence for (the originator). ► …   English terms dictionary

  • Recoil — Re*coil (r[ e]*koil ), v. t. To draw or go back. [Obs.] Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • recoil — index rebuff, refuse, repercussion, retreat, revert Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • recoil — [v] shrink away backfire, balk, blanch, blench, blink, carom, cringe, demur, dodge, draw back, duck, falter, flinch, hesitate, jerk, kick, pull back, quail, quake, react, rebound, reel, resile, shake, shirk, shrink, shudder, shy away, spring,… …   New thesaurus

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