A coil is a spiral shape or a series of circles, each one inside another. You might see a coil of rope on a dock or coils of hair in a fancy hairdo.

A snake naturally curls its body into a coil, and the end of a whip after it's been cracked tends to form a coil. To move in this way is also to coil, as when your cat coils around your leg or you coil a necklace around your finger. This verb form is the earliest meaning of coil, from the Middle French coillir, "to gather," with the Latin root colligere, "to gather together."

Definitions of coil
  1. noun
    a round shape formed by a series of concentric circles (as formed by leaves or flower petals)
    synonyms: curl, curlicue, gyre, ringlet, roll, scroll, whorl
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    (botany) the whorl of petals of a flower that collectively form an inner floral envelope or layer of the perianth
    (botany) the whorl of sepals of a flower collectively forming the outer floral envelope or layer of the perianth enclosing and supporting the developing bud; usually green
    a whorl of leaves growing around a stem
    persistent enlarged calyx at base of e.g. a strawberry or raspberry
    calyx composed of scales or bristles or featherlike hairs in plants of the Compositae such as thistles and dandelions
    type of:
    round shape
    a shape that is curved and without sharp angles
  2. noun
    a structure consisting of something wound in a continuous series of loops
    “a coil of rope”
    synonyms: helix, spiral, volute, whorl
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    a coil of rope or wool or yarn
    coils of worsted yarn
    type of:
    construction, structure
    a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts
  3. noun
    tubing that is wound in a spiral
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    a hollow coil that condenses by abstracting heat
    type of:
    tube, tubing
    conduit consisting of a long hollow object (usually cylindrical) used to hold and conduct objects or liquids or gases
  4. noun
    reactor consisting of a spiral of insulated wire that introduces inductance into a circuit
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    coil in which voltage is induced by motion through a magnetic field
    astatic coils
    an arrangement of coils used in sensitive electrical instruments; the coils are arranged to give zero resultant external magnetic field when a current passes through them and to have zero electromotive force induced in them by an external magnetic field
    choke, choke coil, choking coil
    a coil of low resistance and high inductance used in electrical circuits to pass direct current and attenuate alternating current
    field coil, field winding
    the electric coil around a field magnet that produces the magneto motive force to set up the flux in an electric machine
    induction coil
    a coil for producing a high voltage from a low-voltage source
    primary, primary coil, primary winding
    coil forming the part of an electrical circuit such that changing current in it induces a current in a neighboring circuit
    head, read/write head
    (computer science) a tiny electromagnetic coil and metal pole used to write and read magnetic patterns on a disk
    secondary, secondary coil, secondary winding
    coil such that current is induced in it by passing a current through the primary coil
    a coil of wire around an iron core; becomes a magnet when current passes through the coil
    tickler coil
    a small coil in series with the anode of a vacuum tube and coupled to the grid to provide feedback
    ignition coil
    an induction coil that converts current from a battery into the high-voltage current required by spark plugs
    rotor, rotor coil
    the rotating armature of a motor or generator
    spark coil
    an induction coil used to create sparks
    type of:
    an electrical device used to introduce reactance into a circuit
  5. noun
    a contraceptive device placed inside a woman's womb
  6. noun
    a transformer that supplies high voltage to spark plugs in a gasoline engine
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    type of:
    an electrical device by which alternating current of one voltage is changed to another voltage
  7. verb
    wind or move in a spiral course
    “the muscles and nerves of his fine drawn body were coiling for action”
    “black smoke coiling up into the sky”
    synonyms: gyrate, spiral
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    type of:
    change orientation or direction, also in the abstract sense
  8. verb
    make without a potter's wheel
    synonyms: hand-build, handbuild
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    type of:
    forge, form, mold, mould, shape, work
    make something, usually for a specific function
  9. verb
    wind around something in coils or loops
    synonyms: curl, loop
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    unwind or untwist
    type of:
    roll, twine, wind, wrap
    arrange or or coil around
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