reel


reel
reel vb Reel, whirl, stagger, totter are comparable when they mean to move or seem to move uncertainly or un-controllably (as in weakness, in giddiness, or in intoxication).
Reel usually implies a turning round and round, or a sensation of so turning or being turned
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for, while the dagger gleamed on high, reeled soul and sense, reeled brain and eye— Scott

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in these lengthened vigils his brain often reeledHawthorne

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But it may also imply a being thrown off balance (as an army that recoils before a mighty attack, a ship that has lost its equilibrium, or a person affected by exhaustion, a wound, faintness, or intoxication)
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giddy and restless, let them reel like stubble from the wind— Milton

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when Church and State were reeling to their foundations— Stanley

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he . . . placed his open palm gently against the breast of Lucian, who instantly reeled back as if the piston rod of a steam engine had touched him— Shaw

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Whirl (see also TURN) is often used like reel, especially when referred to the head or to the brain
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the dim brain whirls dizzy with delight— Shelley

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but it more frequently implies swiftness or impetuousness of movement often by someone or something being carried along blindly or furiously
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in popular commotions, each man is whirled along with the herd— Lytton

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Stagger stresses uncertainty or uncontrollability of movement, typically of a person walking while weak, giddy, intoxicated, or heavily burdened, but sometimes of whatever meets with difficulty or with adverse conditions; thus, a boat that labors, a mind that is perplexed, confused, or bewildered, and a faith, opinion, or purpose that meets heavy opposition can all be said to stagger
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a porter half my size who... staggered through the shallow water under what must have been an almost overwhelming weight— Heiser

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at whose immensity even soaring fancy staggersShelley

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Totter (see also SHAKE) implies not only weakness or unsteadiness as a cause of uncertain movement but often also suggests an approaching complete collapse
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from the day of Cressy feudalism tottered slowly but surely to its grave— J. R. Green

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[the waning moon] like a dying lady, lean and pale, who totters forth, wrapt in a gauzy veil— Shelley

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Analogous words: *turn, spin, revolve, rotate: sway, waver, *swing: wobble, teeter, quiver (see SHAKE)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • réel — réel …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • réel — réel, elle [ reɛl ] adj. et n. m. • 1380 real « qui existe effectivement »; 1283 dr.; lat. médiév. realis, de res « chose » I ♦ Adj. Qui consiste en une chose ou concerne une chose, les choses. 1 ♦ Dr. Qui concerne les choses (opposé à personnel) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Reel — bezeichnet sowohl einen schottischen und irischen Volkstanz als auch die zugrundeliegende Melodie in einem schnellen 2/2 Takt (Alla breve). Das Tempo beträgt etwa 100−120 bpm (halbe Noten je Minute), also 50–60 Takte pro Minute. Reels werden… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • réel — réel, elle (ré èl, è l ) adj. 1°   Qui est effectivement. •   Reconnaissez ici le monde, reconnaissez ses maux toujours plus réels que ses biens, BOSSUET Anne de Gonz.. •   Ni l accident n est plus réel que l être même...., BOSSUET Duch. d Orl..… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • reel — reel1 [rēl] vi. [ME relen < the n.: from the sensation of whirling] 1. to give way or fall back; sway, waver, or stagger as from being struck 2. to lurch or stagger about, as from drunkenness or dizziness 3. to go around and around; whirl 4.… …   English World dictionary

  • reel in — ˌreel ˈin [transitive] [present tense I/you/we/they reel in he/she/it reels in present participle reeling in past tense …   Useful english dictionary

  • Reel — (r[=e]l), n. [AS. hre[ o]l: cf. Icel. hr[ae]ll a weaver s reed or sley.] 1. A frame with radial arms, or a kind of spool, turning on an axis, on which yarn, threads, lines, or the like, are wound; as, a log reel, used by seamen; an angler s reel; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • reel — reel·able; reel·er; reel; reel·ing·ly; un·reel; reel·rall; …   English syllables

  • Reel —   [englisch, ri:l], Bezeichnung für einen alten englischen Volkstanz in geradem, meist 4/4 , seltener 2/4 oder 6/4 Takt mit lebhaftem Charakter. Das jeweils erste Viertel im Takt ist betont. Verbreitung fand er auch in Schottland und Irland. Eine …   Universal-Lexikon

  • reel — REEL, [re]elle. adj. Qui est veritablement, effectivement, sans fiction ni figure. Un estre réel. une existence réelle. la presence réelle du Corps de Jesus Christ au saint Sacrement de l Autel. ce que je vous dis est réel. un payement réel. ce… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française