recoil

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recoil at the sight (of someone or something)

 and recoil at the thought (of someone or something)
Fig. to flinch or cringe at the sight or thought of someone or something. Sally recoiled at the sight of Gerry, who had said something unspeakable. Mary recoiled at the very thought.
See also: recoil, sight

recoil from someone or something

to draw back from someone or something. I recoiled from Sally when she told me what she had done. I recoiled from the horror and slammed the door.
See also: recoil
References in classic literature ?
Then, as Lord Leven and the other chieftains recoiled before this unexpected rescue, which seemed to come from Heaven for the prince they already thought was their prisoner, Athos and Aramis dragged the king from the perjured assembly into which he had so imprudently ventured, and throwing themselves on horseback all three returned at full gallop to the royal tent.
The sternness of his countenance gave place to a look of wild amazement, if not horror, while he recoiled several steps from the figure and let fall his sword upon the floor.
Now a side ladder of that sort is a light affair and comes in easily, yet my vigorous tug, which should have brought it flying on board, merely recoiled upon my body in a totally unexpected jerk.
The amount of knowledge Bartle Massey must possess was something so dim and vast that Bill's imagination recoiled before it: he would hardly have ventured to deny that the schoolmaster might have something to do in bringing about the regular return of daylight and the changes in the weather.
Such being the case, it would have been truly absurd to exact from them much in the way of mental exertion; having short memories, dense intelligence, feeble reflective powers, they recoiled with repugnance from any occupation that demanded close study or deep thought.
Hannibal recoiled with a flash of snarl and flashed back a second sweeping stroke of his mighty paw.
Before that he had recoiled automatically from hurt, as he had crawled automatically toward the light.