from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To spring back, especially to resume a former position or structure after being stretched or compressed.
  • intransitive v. To draw back; recoil.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To start back; to recoil; to recede from a purpose.
  • v. To spring back; rebound; resume the original form or position, as an elastic body.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To start back; to recoil; to recede from a purpose.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To start back; recede, as from a purpose; recoil.
  • To shrink, recoil, or retreat from something.
  • To recoil or rebound; return to its original form or position, as an elastic body.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. pull out from an agreement, contract, statement, etc.
  • v. spring back; spring away from an impact
  • v. formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief, usually under pressure
  • v. return to the original position or state after being stretched or compressed


Obsolete French resilir, from Latin resilīre, to leap back : re-, re- + salīre, to leap; see sel- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin resiliō ("spring back") through French resilir; from re (back) + saliō ("I jump"). (Wiktionary)


  • Fourthly nothing I have read or said makes me resile from the proposition which I made yesterday that we ought to withdraw from the ECHR and enact a new progressive and modern British Bill of Rights which reflects the world in which we now live not that of 1950 when the ECHR was drawn up and which is consonant with the Common law and the British way of life.

    A Sense of Frustration

  • Not really a related point, but germane to the closeness of politicians to the BBC, is the spread of the perfectly respectable word "resile" meaning 'recoil' - a word unrecognised by Microsoft Word.


  • I quite like "resile" and it gives us the useful word "resilient" but haven't noticed it particularly on the BBC.


  • I liked your earlier idea that the use of "resile" shows the influence of a Classical education not that I've had one!


  • I've often seen "resile" used on American web-sites , even right-wing ones .


  • MPs, especially Labour MPs, are refusing to "resile" all the time.


  • Likely to make them reflect, perhaps to resile from their stories.


  • Both Australia and New Zealand have always made the point that, whilst we do not propose to resile in any manner or form from the strong view we have about the essential need for Fiji to return to democracy, we've also always made the point that there's a need to have a dialogue.

    Joint Press Conference with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully

  • One report suggests former party president Simon Hughes's office has received 4,000 emails telling him his party cannot resile on electoral reform.

    Labour prepares to pounce if Liberal Democrat-Conservative coalition talks fail

  • Or they could wait in hope for the European Central Bank to decide inflation is not so bad after all; or for the Germans to resile from their economic puritanism and become free-spending idlers.

    For the Euro's Laggards, Would a Devaluation Help?


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