to be confused or shocked by a situation:
Norman's brain was reeling, but he did his best to appear calm.
The party is still reeling from its recent election defeat.
2 also reel back
to step backwards suddenly and almost fall over, especially after being hit or getting a shock:
Diane reeled back in amazement.
The force of the punch sent him reeling against the wall.
3 [always + adverb/preposition]
to walk in an unsteady way and almost fall over, as if you are drunk:
Andy reeled away from the bar and knocked over his stool.
to seem to go around and around:
The room reeled before my eyes and I fainted.
reel somebody/something ↔ inphrasal verb
to wind the reel on a fishing rod so that a fish caught on the line comes towards you:
It took almost an hour to reel the fish in.
to get or attract a large number of people or things [= pull in]:
The programme reels in more than 13 million viewers a show.
reel something ↔ offphrasal verb
to repeat a lot of information quickly and easily:
Jack reeled off a list of names.
to do something again and again:
The Yankees reeled off 14 straight wins.