World English Dictionary
vb (foll by on or upon)
1.  to jerk back, as from an impact or violent thrust
2.  (often foll by from) to draw back in fear, horror, or disgust: to recoil from the sight of blood
3.  to go wrong, esp so as to hurt the perpetrator
4.  (of a nucleus, atom, molecule, or elementary particle) to change momentum as a result of the emission of a photon or particle
5.  a.  the backward movement of a gun when fired
 b.  the distance moved
6.  the motion acquired by a particle as a result of its emission of a photon or other particle
7.  the act of recoiling
[C13: from Old French reculer, from re- + cul rump, from Latin cūlus]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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