General English


  • noun a device consisting of coiled wire for converting low voltage to high voltage

Cars & Driving

  • noun a device for generating high tension voltage consisting of primary and secondary windings around a laminated iron core.


  • A term applied to a heat exchanger that uses connected pipes or tubing in rows, layers, or windings, as in steam heating, water heating, and refrigeration condensers and evaporators.


  • One or more conductors wound in a series of turns, so as to introduce inductance, or to produce a magnetic field in an electric circuit. A coil may be wound, for example, around a ferromagnetic core, an insulating support, or around air. Used, for instance, in transformers, electromagnets, solenoids, motors, speakers, and so on. Also known as electric coil, inductance (3), inductance coil, inductor, or magnetic coil (1).


  • noun a device fitted into a woman’s uterus as a contraceptive

Origin & History of “coil”

Ultimately, coil, cull, and collect are the same word. All come from Latin colligere ‘gather together’. Its past participial stem produced collect, but the infinitive form passed into Old French as coillir, culler, etc, and thence into English. In the case of coil, its original general sense ‘gather, collect’ (of which there is no trace in English) was specialized, no doubt originally in nautical use, to the gathering up of ropes into tidy shapes (concentric rings) for stowage.