re·​flect | \ri-ˈflekt \
reflected; reflecting; reflects

Definition of reflect 

transitive verb

1 archaic : to turn into or away from a course : deflect

2 : to prevent passage of and cause to change direction a mirror reflects light

3 : to bend or fold back

4 : to give back or exhibit as an image, likeness, or outline : mirror the clouds were reflected in the water

5 : to bring or cast as a result his attitude reflects little credit on his judgment

6 : to make manifest or apparent : show the painting reflects his artistic vision the pulse reflects the condition of the heart

intransitive verb

1 : to throw back light or sound

2a : to think quietly and calmly

b : to express a thought or opinion resulting from reflection

3a : to tend to bring reproach or discredit an investigation that reflects on all the members of the department

b : to bring about a specified appearance or characterization an act which reflects well on her

c : to have a bearing or influence

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Choose the Right Synonym for reflect

think, cogitate, reflect, reason, speculate, deliberate mean to use one's powers of conception, judgment, or inference. think is general and may apply to any mental activity, but used alone often suggests attainment of clear ideas or conclusions. teaches students how to think cogitate implies deep or intent thinking. cogitated on the mysteries of nature reflect suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the mind. reflecting on fifty years of married life reason stresses consecutive logical thinking. able to reason brilliantly in debate speculate implies reasoning about things theoretical or problematic. speculated on the fate of the lost explorers deliberate suggests slow or careful reasoning before forming an opinion or reaching a conclusion or decision. the jury deliberated for five hours

Examples of reflect in a Sentence

The old church is reflected in the glass exterior of the skyscraper. Her book clearly reflects her beliefs. Where you learned a language is reflected in your accent.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The décor for the wedding day itself reflected LOHO’s minimal, down-to-Earth yet modern aesthetic. Tamara Abraham, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Bridal Shop Owner Wore Five Different Dresses for her Palm Springs Wedding," 10 July 2018 Princess Charlotte's Godparents Princess Charlotte's five godparents reflected a similar decision-making process. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How Prince William and Kate Middleton Picked Prince Louis's Godparents," 9 July 2018 Those sentiments reflected the results of a two-week survey of nearly 2,700 people. Mikaela Porter,, "Malloy Says Financial Tech Company Will Relocate To Former UConn Campus In West Hartford," 3 July 2018 Johnson also reflected on his decision to attend USC instead of signing with Atlanta out of high school. Paul Johnson, Aurora Beacon-News, "The Big Message: Arizona Diamondbacks special assistant Randy Johnson makes point in talking with Cougars," 29 June 2018 As their time as Titans ends, Poway High valedictorian Jacob Allen and salutatorian Maria Cullen reflected on the school careers. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Poway High valedictorian, salutatorian reflect on high school careers," 21 June 2018 The views Trump expressed in the interview reflect the line of argument made by May's critics within her conservative party. Jonathan Allen /, NBC News, "Hours after bashing British leader May, Trump praises her," 13 July 2018 The findings reflect many conclusions from independent think tanks and cybersecurity professionals about how to protect the voting process, from stepping up cybersecurity training to implementing paper ballot systems. Derek Hawkins, Washington Post, "The Cybersecurity 202: House Democrats list states with weakest election security in new report," 13 July 2018 Overall, the nominees truly reflect the changing landscape of television. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "What the 2018 Emmy nominations got right and wrong," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reflect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of reflect

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for reflect

Middle English, from Latin reflectere to bend back, from re- + flectere to bend

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Statistics for reflect

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reflect

The first known use of reflect was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for reflect



English Language Learners Definition of reflect

of light, sound, etc. : to move in one direction, hit a surface, and then quickly move in a different and usually opposite direction

: to show the image of (something) on a surface

: to show (something) : to make (something) known


re·​flect | \ri-ˈflekt \
reflected; reflecting

Kids Definition of reflect

1 : to bend or throw back (waves of light, sound, or heat) A polished surface reflects light.

2 : to give back an image or likeness of in the manner of a mirror The clouds were reflected in the water.

3 : to make known The book reflects her beliefs.

4 : to cause to be thought of in a specified way or in a bad way Your poor behavior reflects on the whole class.

5 : to think seriously and carefully about I reflected on the problem.


transitive verb
re·​flect | \ri-ˈflekt \

Medical Definition of reflect 

1 : to bend or fold back : impart a backward curve, bend, or fold to

2 : to push or lay aside (as tissue or an organ) during surgery in order to gain access to the part to be operated on the pleura were reflected and later closed over the stump

intransitive verb

: to throw back light or sound : return rays, beams, or waves

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Comments on reflect

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