3. Specifically, the reaction or rebounding of a firearm when discharged. Recoil dynamometer, an instrument for measuring the force of the recoil of a firearm. Recoil escapement See the note under Escapement.
1. To start, roll, bound, spring, or fall back; to take a reverse motion; to be driven or forced backward; to return. Evil on itself shall back recoil. (milton) The solemnity of her demeanor made it impossible . . . That we should recoil into our ordinary spirits. (De Quincey)
2. To draw back, as from anything repugnant, distressing, alarming, or the like; to shrink.
Origin: OE. Recoilen, F. Reculer, fr. L. Pref. Re- re- _ culus the fundament. The English word was perhaps influenced in form by accoil.