Definition of reel in US English:



  • 1A cylinder on which film, wire, thread, or other flexible materials can be wound.

    • ‘The new sign also reflects the industrial history of the area, showing cotton mills, looms and cotton reels.’
    • ‘The spinning reels of the tapes, so carefully observed, are further spinning wheels in Harry's circular downfall.’
    • ‘One is quite tempted to ask the projectionist if he keeps switching reels from different films.’
    • ‘Greg got up and looked at the film reel in the projector.’
    • ‘In 1994 it was alleged that he had hoaxed the picture using a cotton reel and a button.’
    • ‘The film reels used for the transfer are in decent shape, but little to no cleanup seems to have been done.’
    • ‘Wires are placed in a wire holder or a reel is suspended from the worker's belt for accessibility.’
    • ‘Filler rods and wire reels, when not in use, must be kept in closed packets and containers and stored in a dry place at a uniform temperature.’
    • ‘A cinema enthusiast is giving moviegoers a blast from the past in aid of charity by screening a rare film using a traditional reel and projector.’
    • ‘Watching Mackenzie change reels, control the projectors, and add and remove gels is fascinating - he is the wizard behind the curtain revealed, the magician whose tricks are laid bare.’
    • ‘The myriad types of storage media included reels, chips, strips, cylinders, and sheets of tape or film.’
    • ‘‘I have to keep rolling the thread reels which keeps my elbows moving,’ he said.’
    • ‘Behind me, in a half-filled screening room, the sound of a projector hums as its reels turn.’
    • ‘While the reels were being changed everyone would join in a sing song.’
    • ‘One shows the globe morphing into a film reel to show how Hollywood relies on the network.’
    • ‘I raced over to the NFT where projectionists were hauling yards of shredded film out of the reels.’
    • ‘Toy cotton reels or buttons can be sorted by colour or threaded on to laces, while plastic pegs can be used for pattern-making and counting.’
    • ‘If there's more than one tray, place four cotton reels strategically so that you can stack one tray on top of another.’
    • ‘She was given a button, a needle, a cotton reel and a choice of private places she could use to sew a button on in school.’
    • ‘Thus it is that welfare recipients and those on fixed incomes are first attracted to and then hooked by the spinning reels and flashing lights of the VLT.’
    1. 1.1 A length of something wound on to a reel.
      ‘a reel of copper wire’
      • ‘This presents a major problem for film historians, as improperly stored reels of nitrate film are in danger of disintegrating, or even exploding.’
      • ‘In B & Q I gave way to my evil instincts and sneaked a shot of Graham sifting through reels of electrical cable.’
      • ‘Dusenbery specialised in machines which unwind, slit and rewind large reels of material, foil and paper making them suitable for further processing or consumer use.’
      • ‘Now, we could waste a lot of time with lawyers, witnesses and reels of videotape working out who pushed who and who was provoked, who conned the referee and who was really in the wrong.’
      • ‘Surely they can stretch to a reel of fibre or at least a hub and some cat 5!’
      • ‘The film is composed of selections from one family's collection of 25 reels of home movies, shot on 8mm.’
      • ‘Says Schellhorn: ‘People are calling to see if they can buy a reel of the ad.’’
      • ‘Some two reels of this material were shot, but later scrapped by the producers who felt that it delayed the heart of the story in the New England town.’
      • ‘In 1991, the bulk of the Newton manuscripts were released on forty-three reels of microfilm.’
      • ‘Physically, they are usually simple: a reel of film, a CD, a computer disk, a sheet of printed-paper.’
      • ‘He had a large reel of cable in the loft and pulled a length through the hole to wire up the lighting rose.’
      • ‘A reel of release paper is loaded onto the machinery at 26 and is led through a variety of stages at which, one by one, the various layers of the leaflet/label are fed onto or cut in situ onto it.’
      • ‘While the companies were agreeable to continuing the program, they wanted to retain the reels of magnetic tape.’
      • ‘If you scaled up the thickness of the DNA chain to that of ordinary sewing thread, you would need a 4 kilometer reel to represent the length in an average human chromosome.’
      • ‘I filled the first two reels of film and as I took the last photo the bell blasted us all.’
      • ‘Lacey turned around and darted for the coffee table and grasped a reel of duct tape, holding it up in her hand.’
      • ‘The tide of questions washed over the whines, rumbles and screams of the chain and gave him no chance to answer as the Lab coat looped a belt around his waist and hung a reel of string from his stomach.’
      • ‘The store was an Aladdin's cave, filled with boxes of buttons, and bolts of cloth, and reels of thread in every conceivable colour and shade.’
      • ‘But gone are the days when you had to drive big metal or wooden posts into hard, rocky ground and wrestle with heavy reels of stiff wire that always wanted to go anywhere but where you wanted them to go.’
      • ‘Acres of print, reels and reels of Videotape have been expended on Beslan.’
    2. 1.2 A part of a movie.
      ‘in the final reel he is transformed from unhinged sociopath into local hero’
      • ‘Despite noticeable speckles, nicks and the odd scratch, the first reel of the film looks quite good with excellent contrast and sharp images.’
      • ‘I thought I was watching the last reel of a Halloween or Friday the 13th movie.’
      • ‘There's normally a moment in the first or second reel of most films when you are provided with final incontrovertible proof that it's either a masterpiece, a stinker or a kind of apathetic blah.’
      • ‘By reel three, the film has become a creature feature, as they are picked off one by one by a stealthy hunter.’
      • ‘It's technically very proficient, and revealing about contemporary life in Russia, though it does tend to fizzle out in the final reel.’
      • ‘What starts well deteriorates in the last reels of the movie.’
      • ‘Too often in these films, characters do things in the final reel that are in no way justified by their behavior for the previous seventy minutes or so.’
      • ‘By the final reel, she has mysteriously morphed into Jennifer Jason Leigh.’
      • ‘With the neighbourhood getting persistently more aggressive in its campaign against the Samuels, and David finding a place on his school cricket team, the stage is set for a dramatic final few reels.’
      • ‘Loose ends still abound in the final reel, leaving the film with a less than satisfying conclusion.’
      • ‘The eventual question is, to what lengths of madness will the obsessive Murnau go to complete the final reel of his masterwork?’
      • ‘He then escaped on a bicycle with a reel of the film under his arm.’
      • ‘Animal Factory should keep you guessing until the final reel.’
      • ‘And, of course, we suspect that one gunman will assuredly die by the final reel while the other will get the girl.’
      • ‘And so by the last reel of the film we're waiting patiently for the two main characters to meet for some major bloodletting.’
      • ‘Perhaps my favorite extra feature was the outtake reel, which lasts about 8 minutes.’
      • ‘What's more, sexual outlaws must always get their comeuppance by the final reel.’
      • ‘That also gave Hitch the opportunity to create one of the most exciting last reels of his movie career.’
      • ‘He remains ever likeable, as his efforts in matchmaking in the final reel testify, but the true star of the movie is Maura, whose scenes are the most involving and interesting.’
      • ‘Beyond that, where are the bloopers, gag reels, and other fun material?’
    3. 1.3 A device for winding and unwinding a line as required, in particular the line attached to a fishing rod.
      • ‘If you have a costly fly reel, I suggest you take it in your partner's handbag.’
      • ‘When I go back later this month I will be taking some extra rods, reels, lines and flies for the locals to use.’
      • ‘From Sweden we have the Loop range of fly reels.’
      • ‘No longer would you have to put a sticker on the reel to identify the line, which quickly becomes lost.’
      • ‘With Scierra stocking the house with a full range of all of their rods, reels and lines, I had the opportunity of testing many of them.’
      • ‘Shimano also manufactures fishing rods and reels, snowboard boots and bindings, and golf clubs.’
      • ‘I set up with 13 ft Shakespeare match rod and a fixed spool reel loaded with 21b line.’
      • ‘Gone are the days of aching arms from pulling hundreds of yards of used line from reels.’
      • ‘This was all brought home to me when I saw the speed at which the Tuna pulled the fly line off the reels and the heat that was generated by the friction.’
      • ‘At one time I had perhaps no more than a dozen turns of line left on the reel.’
      • ‘Mac reached around to the box and pulled out a metal rod, then a smaller reel and assembled the fishing line.’
      • ‘If you're planning to fish in saltwater then my advice is purchase a saltwater model reel.’
      • ‘Realise that no spearfish on earth pulls line off a reel like that and stop the boat instantly.’
      • ‘For several minutes the fish was boss, as it slowly and powerfully took line from the reel.’
      • ‘I shall assume that you hold the rod in your right hand and wind the reel with your left.’
      • ‘A reel should be fully loaded if the fish are large enough and fast enough to empty the reel of all the line.’
      • ‘Yet it is true to say that most anglers leave their line on a reel for far too long.’
      • ‘The boat tows the lure, the fish eats, the boat carries on, line comes off the reel and the fish is hooked.’
      • ‘The right reel and line are as important to fishing as the right bait.’
      • ‘The society sponsored fishing rods and reels for fifteen students chosen from St. Edward's, St. John's and the Mercy National School, all in Sligo town.’
  • 2A lively Scottish or Irish folk dance.

    • ‘She also danced an old reel which she got from Johnny Kelly of Bekan and that was specially in memory of Dominic Stenson, a great old style step dancer who had been laid to rest in Achadh Mor the day before.’
    • ‘Sylvia O'Donovan's display of Irish dancing was a big hit as were the reels and hornpipes of cousins Deirdre Bonham and Gillian Reilly from the Mary Gohery school of dancing.’
    • ‘In the reel, each step consists of eight counts of four, done on the right side and then repeated on the left side.’
    • ‘When told by his factor some years ago that sex and dancing reels might go hand in glove, an elderly Highland laird was much moved by the nobility of the concept for he was a devotee of both activities.’
    • ‘The jig is the first solo dance that children are taught, then usually the reel, both of which are done in soft shoes.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, Rathbone picked up a few tips on how to dance reels, how to negotiate her way around country-house bureaucracy and how to reconstruct a walled vegetable garden.’
    • ‘She did herself and her teachers proud as she danced reels and slip-jigs in her wonderful costume.’
    • ‘During a jolly visit to the island, Johnson and Boswell danced a reel on the flat top of Dun Caan and discovered a prehistoric souterrain near Raasay House.’
    • ‘Meanwhile Grainne, competing against one hundred and twenty dancers got seventh place for her reel and was placed tenth in the Championships.’
    • ‘Also on hand to entertain were young Irish dancers who performed reels, jigs and hornpipes.’
    • ‘As a young officer in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, he became adept at reels, strathspeys and sword dances.’
    • ‘After they arrived in Louisiana, Anglo-American immigrants to Louisiana contributed new fiddle tunes and dances, such as reels, jigs, and hoedowns.’
    • ‘Forget all about rowdy post-wedding dances where an eightsome is an excuse to throw women around, reels are danced energetically but correctly.’
    • ‘This one was a reel, and Peter was convinced that there was not a girl in the world he'd rather dance a reel with than Laura Hope.’
    • ‘Suzanne and her sister Ann-Marie danced jogs, reels and hornpipes, to the delight of everyone present.’
    • ‘‘You do not dance any reels, Grace,’ Frank said, and he came to stand by her and placed gentle hands on her shoulders.’
    • ‘Everyone can dance the reels and such, but I know Miss Alberta loves to waltz.’
    • ‘Songs were sung, jigs and reels danced out and some excellent poetry was recited.’
    • ‘The children of Brendan and Theresa Walsh of Rhue, Lisa and Alan danced jigs and reels to the music from the tin whistle of Nicola Walpole.’
    • ‘The orchestra whoops, lets out war cries, and dances a demented reel.’
    1. 2.1 A piece of music for a reel, typically in simple or duple time.
      • ‘From early morning until late afternoon the lounge vibrated to the sound of lively jigs, reels, polkas and hornpipes played with tremendous enthusiasm by the participants.’
      • ‘Guest artist Robert Thorn and his band played a rousing selection of Scottish marches, airs and reels, and Irish and continental music.’
      • ‘Ireland has a rich folk music tradition, and ancient jigs and reels can be heard at local festivals and during informal performances at neighborhood pubs.’
      • ‘But above the hubbub, the unfamiliar strains of Scottish reels and jigs were rising on the warm air.’
      • ‘Later in Europe bones provided the rhythm to jigs and reels normally played on violin.’
      • ‘They had the audience clapping along to their lively jigs and reels.’
      • ‘Along with a group performance, the concert highlighted some great solo and duet musicians as they played a selection of lively traditional jigs, reels and polkas.’
      • ‘The 17-track album features jigs, reels, songs, waltzes, hornpipes, polkas, a two step, slow air, highland fling and recitation.’
      • ‘At the climax of ‘La Londe’, he breaks out into a spirited reel, completely changing the direction of this Baka children's song.’
      • ‘Exhilarating and highly infectious, this young Canadian folk six-piece present an anthology of Quebecois dance tunes, Celtic reels and world music.’
      • ‘Visiting Scandinavians apologised for the behaviour of Vikings - all to the exhilarating accompaniment of lively Irish reels!’
      • ‘He's more of a serial songwriter whose infatuations run from classic pedal-steel weepers to fuzz-rock stomps and wild Irish reels - sometimes on a single album.’
      • ‘A special cabaret night is in store as The Bridies give us a taste of some electrifying traditional music with funky reels from their debt album on Thursday, June 30.’
      • ‘This was followed by some lively jigs and reels in which there was much tapping of feet amongst the audience.’
      • ‘The floorboards of the Linenhall hall gently rocked as the both the audience and musicians tapped the various rhythms of jigs, reels, polkas, to name but a few!’
      • ‘Traditional Irish reels were played at relevant intervals during the Mass.’
      • ‘The off-key singing of the congregations at Church and the reels and jigs of the Connecticut fiddle players enchanted him.’
      • ‘Marrianne Carney Knight played a superb selection of Phil Cunningham reels and sang two songs including a beautiful version of ‘From Galway to Graceland’.’
      • ‘Having started out as a piper himself, Jock loves to languish in the tunes of glory, the marches and reels of the standard Scottish songbook.’
      • ‘Irish accordion player Sharon Shannon was part of O'Connor's tour band, and O'Connor repays the compliment by singing on Shannon's latest album of diverse collaborations and Irish reels.’


  • 1reel something inwith object Wind a line onto a reel by turning the reel.

    • ‘Gritting his teeth, he reeled the line back in and threw it out again.’
    • ‘That's his hand holding my spent target, after I emptied a round in it and reeled it in.’
    • ‘Then Mr Dilworth began the painstaking task of reeling them in.’
    • ‘I sort of ‘pull backwards’ so the cord is reeled in and I'm drawn back into my body in a flash.’
    • ‘He reels it in while his young daughter, obviously familiar with this occurrence, runs downstairs to the water's edge and neatly lands the fish with her net.’
    • ‘‘Did everything go okay? ‘she inquired, reeling her line in a little.’’
    • ‘Jim laughed a little as he continued to reel the line in.’
    • ‘Frantically, he reeled it in, hoping to snare the fish that had just tugged on it.’
    • ‘Shrugging to himself, the boy proceeded to reel his line in.’
    • ‘Coming back in the rider raised his sword and brought it down on the stiff wire, shearing it through to prevent the bandits from reeling it in to fire at him a second time.’
    1. 1.1 Bring something attached to a line, especially a fish, toward one by turning a reel and winding in the line.
      ‘he struck, and reeled in a good perch’
      • ‘Mackerel are making an appearance along the western coastline and holiday markers and locals are out in force reeling them in on all kinds of tackle.’
      • ‘I had caught a fish (I, not they), and I was reeling it in (I, not they), and they would be eating it tonight (they, not I. Again, I don't like fish.)’
      • ‘I reeled it in, took it off my line, tossed it back in, re-baited my line, tossed it back in too, and promptly fell asleep again.’
      • ‘When the wind blows, the fly fisherman keeps on casting and reeling them in!’
      • ‘Then, all you have do is reel it in, lift your prize aloft, smile and get your photograph taken.’
      • ‘She was reeling it in when she said, ‘Sam, I need some help!’’
      • ‘He reeled the fish in (not without getting a ton of moss stuck on the line, of course) quickly.’
      • ‘I reeled it in, and with a flick of my wrist, I tossed my catch onboard.’
      • ‘I'm trying to reel them in and throw them squiggling into the boat.’
      • ‘The tension in it was greatly reduced and he was slowly reeling the fish in.’
      • ‘At the same time the other anglers on the boat will need to reel their baits in to give the hooked-up angler room to fight the fish and eliminate the chance of tangling lines.’
      • ‘As he was reeling his prospective dinner in the rope began to jerk from side to side.’
      • ‘He would catch the clients and reel them in like fish.’
      • ‘The fish can bite your line all day, but if you can't reel them in, you're in trouble.’
      • ‘Before he knew it, a fish was tugging on the line, and he reeled it in.’
      • ‘Anglers often have long rods and when they have caught something take up the whole path reeling something in.’
      • ‘But, inexorably, he reeled it in, thrashing and squirming.’
      • ‘The problem with using baited feathers is that invariably the fish will spin as you reel them in, especially if you pick up an occasional pouting as well.’
      • ‘It's good to read essays whose writer doesn't feel they have to be sold, to have hooks to reel a reader in or to immediately distill or even necessarily imply their main thrust.’
      • ‘He reeled it in and had a two foot long bass in the hook.’
  • 2no object Lose one's balance and stagger or lurch violently.

    ‘he punched Connolly in the ear, sending him reeling’
    ‘she reeled back against the van’
    • ‘He went reeling backwards, stumbling back into his room.’
    • ‘Thrust off balance, Ikeda reeled backwards, shocked and aghast.’
    • ‘Our swaggering demon is resolute until agile Laksman climbs on his foe's bent thigh to deliver a walloping strike that sends Intorachit reeling.’
    • ‘His long hair was a filthy tangle, the left side of his face was bruised black and he swayed a little on the stool as he sat, reeling with pain and exhaustion.’
    • ‘The man reeled back, stumbling over a chair and falling flat on his rear.’
    • ‘And he does it all with a smile while you're still reeling and stumbling around with no clue of what's going on.’
    • ‘An explosion of pain blinded me as I reeled and staggered, trying vainly to catch my balance.’
    • ‘I scrambled, panting and reeling, past the rock and onto a gravel shelf.’
    • ‘I stared blankly at both officers and stumbled back a few steps, literally reeling with the news.’
    • ‘He reeled backwards, losing his footing, stumbling behind one of the buildings.’
    • ‘Robert stumbled back, reeling from what he had just seen.’
    • ‘Aidis shook his head violently as he leaned forward again, reeling from the sudden attacks.’
    • ‘He burst across the line and staggered to a halt, eyesight blurry, reeling as people surrounded him.’
    • ‘He was reeling from a heavy blow and staggered back holding his face.’
    • ‘Conner stumbled backwards, reeling from the blow to his face.’
    • ‘The Royalists set to and the Scots reeled and staggered but they held out and were joined by the Scots' second line and the Royalists fell back.’
    • ‘Laetan reeled in agony giving out a violent scream of pain.’
    • ‘The prison guard reeled back, staggering a few steps and struggling to reach for his saber.’
    • ‘The violent clash sent Quinton reeling.’
    • ‘The little man reeled, stumbled, got to his feet again, one callused hand pressed against his face.’
    stagger, lurch, sway, rock, stumble, totter, wobble, falter, waver, swerve, pitch, roll
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with adverbial of direction Walk in a staggering or lurching manner, especially while drunk.
      ‘the two reeled out of the bar arm in arm’
      • ‘The man exclaimed in shock and pain, reeling out of the bush.’
      • ‘‘It is humiliating to see people reeling around dead drunk on a Friday or Saturday night,’ she says.’
      • ‘He reeled away with the force of the impact, before staggering slightly and regaining balance.’
      • ‘The shot caught me low at the side of my back and I staggered with the impact, reeling into the wall as pain almost immobilized me.’
      • ‘He shouted as the man reeled away from Rubiss, staggering to one knee under the force of the blow.’
      • ‘The cat reeled backwards violently, clamping the collar of Maryn's tunic in its jaw.’
      • ‘He reeled away from me, a string of violent curses flying from his mouth.’
      • ‘Danny was downbeat and self-absorbed, reeling from one personal incident to the next like a ship without a compass, and his friends were a mixed bunch of dipsomaniacs and egotists.’
      • ‘Diners are discreetly shielded from the gaze of drinkers reeling past outside by the kind of blinds you often find on Greek or Italian restaurants.’
      • ‘Olga Knipper-Chekhova reeled back in shock and collapsed behind the curtain in confusion and terror.’
    2. 2.2 Feel very giddy, disoriented, or bewildered, typically as a result of an unexpected setback.
      ‘the unaccustomed intake of alcohol made my head reel’
      figurative ‘the nationalist government is already reeling from 225 percent monthly inflation’
      • ‘Unprecedented grassroots activism by civic groups has sent political circles reeling from shock.’
      • ‘She was still reeling from the shock of hearing Lily's confession, and now this.’
      • ‘‘At the moment people are reeling from the shock, but soon I think they're going to start considering the future,’ said Mr Palmer.’
      • ‘Farmers are reeling from the latest shock to hit their industry, as a devastating livestock disease made its first appearance in Britain for 20 years.’
      • ‘Armagh were still reeling from the hammer-blow of losing their influential captain Kieran McGeeney before the throw-in.’
      • ‘They are still reeling from recently losing one of their own teenage daughters.’
      • ‘The Bruins are reeling, having lost six of seven.’
      • ‘Senator Higgins said the community was still obviously reeling in shock at how such a gruesome tragedy should happen in the midst of a tight knit community and nobody was aware of it.’
      • ‘Angry East Sheen residents determined to prevent the demolition of an Edwardian house were left reeling this week after amendments were made to a planning application on the site.’
      • ‘Vanzie is still reeling from losing his latest bid to win back the British lightweight title he held for nearly five years.’
      • ‘I cannot believe that another attack can be right - however justified it may seem to a nation reeling with shock and anger.’
      • ‘His family said they were still reeling in shock, but expressed their deepest gratitude to all the people who tried to save him.’
      • ‘Although figures are unavailable, many of the New Orleans city workers losing their jobs are still reeling from the loss of their homes as a result of the Katrina disaster.’
      • ‘Shoppers and traders are reeling after a shock announcement that one of the New Forest's most popular markets is to close next week.’
      • ‘The mind reels at the possibilities such a truly balanced ticket would offer.’
      • ‘I mean, Dobson alone is bad enough, but a Dobson armed with nuclear weapons - the mind reels.’
      • ‘By the time the others went to find her, she was on her way to the airport and a flight to London, leaving her unsuspecting bandmates reeling with shock and anger.’
      • ‘But even when I smiled, I found the tears threatening to invade my smile. My heart bleeds inside and my head reels.’
      • ‘Jubilant residents are still reeling in shock after an sudden announcement that plans for a youth jail in Brentwood have been scrapped.’
      • ‘It is not just the supporters of York City Football Club who have been left reeling by the shock announcement that the club is up for sale.’
      be shaken by, be stunned by, be in shock after, be shocked by, be numb from, be dazed by, be taken aback by, be staggered by, be aghast at, be dumbfounded at, be dumbstruck at, be upset by, be bowled over by, feel dizzy from, feel giddy from, feel confused by
      View synonyms
  • 3no object Dance a reel.

    • ‘So we can jig and reel, and strathspey, we are capable of pas de pax setting, possettes and allemande, and we even know the names of some of the people that go there.’
    • ‘Anyone who wanted to dance could reel to the sound of the ceilidh band playing at the Butter Cross.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • reel something off

    • Say or recite something rapidly and without apparent effort.

      ‘she proceeded to reel off in rapid Italian the various dishes of the day’
      • ‘Fortier reels off countries whose scenes impress him.’
      • ‘The tale's first half is told from Abe's perspective; old and alone, he reels off wistful tales of his days as a salesman, chronically teetering between regret and distant pride.’
      • ‘He reels off a list of the exotic destinations stamped on the Riddle suitcases: Thailand, Brunei, Malaysia, Mauritius, Japan, the Seychelles and regular visits to the United States.’
      • ‘So I'm sitting on a bench in Budapest, and J. is reeling some information off about where we've got to go next, when I turn around and see this garden, and see that it's infested with little birds.’
      • ‘You don't have to know what they stand for, just so long as you can reel them off without choking on all the consonants.’
      • ‘He reels off a series of allegations, most of which have either been positively discredited or remain wholly unsubstantiated.’
      • ‘He knew thousands of place names by heart, and he could reel them off.’
      • ‘Germany's third defeat under Klinsmann saw the nation's powerful tabloid media reel off a long list of shortcomings.’
      • ‘But what about the regular roll call of comparisons critics love to reel off?’
      • ‘The screen fades to green, and the names of all 336 tributaries are slowly reeled off, in apparent contrast to the vagaries of story-telling.’
      • ‘With a proud full-beam smile, she reels off Phoebe's attributes.’
      • ‘There are follow-ups once camp's ended but there needs to be much more, said Dr Gately who reels off other ideas such as all-year-round camps, day camps and after-school clubs.’
      • ‘Thousands of binary digits have been reeled off in the correct order, hundreds of random numbers instantly recalled and the order of dozens of packs of cards stashed away in the memory bank.’
      • ‘On an indifferently decorated stage, he reeled off a lecture-demo.’
      • ‘At times, you can practically see him battling them off, struggling to be friendly and to act like he is thinking up his answers while he is saying them, rather than simply reeling them off.’
      • ‘They just queue up and reel it off, then a soldier goes and gets it for them.’
      • ‘Last night I put on LBC (London radio station) and found there was a quiz going on. It sounded a bit familiar and after a few seconds I realised that I knew what both the quizzer and quizzee were going to say. I was reeling it off, word for word.’
      • ‘We all know about his many degrees - in part because he isn't shy about reeling them off.’
      • ‘Chic Charnley, who reels off a long list of clubs that he has assisted, was in great form in inspiring Partick's under-21s this past week.’
      • ‘Then, beaming proudly, he reels them off: Stamford Plaza, Sky City, Morrins-ville Motel, the Viaduct, Britomart, Qantas.’
      • ‘I don't even remember how and why we ended up watching it so much (I mean, I really like it and all, but it's not as though it's my favourite film or anything), but I could probably reel the entire script off from memory.’
      • ‘Shorter plays tenor far more than soprano, and reels off solo after solo that re-emphasise why he is special.’
      • ‘Ours starts badly when, 10 minutes in, I jokingly call him a luvvie after he reels off a list of ‘friends’ who all happen to be A-list British actors.’
      recite, rattle off, loose off, fire off, list rapidly, run through, enumerate, detail, itemize
      View synonyms


Old English hrēol, denoting a rotatory device on which spun thread is wound; of unknown origin.