verb re·flect \ri-ˈflekt\

Definition of reflect

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 archaic :  to turn into or away from a course :  deflect

  3. 2 :  to prevent passage of and cause to change direction a mirror reflects light

  4. 3 :  to bend or fold back

  5. 4 :  to give back or exhibit as an image, likeness, or outline :  mirror the clouds were reflected in the water

  6. 5 :  to bring or cast as a result his attitude reflects little credit on his judgment

  7. 6 :  to make manifest or apparent :  show the painting reflects his artistic vision the pulse reflects the condition of the heart

  8. 7 :  realize, consider

  9. intransitive verb
  10. 1 :  to throw back light or sound

  11. 2a :  to think quietly and calmlyb :  to express a thought or opinion resulting from reflection

  12. 3a :  to tend to bring reproach or discredit an investigation that reflects on all the members of the departmentb :  to bring about a specified appearance or characterization an act which reflects well on herc :  to have a bearing or influence

Examples of reflect in a Sentence

  1. The old church is reflected in the glass exterior of the skyscraper.

  2. Her book clearly reflects her beliefs.

  3. Where you learned a language is reflected in your accent.

Recent Examples of reflect from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of reflect

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

REFLECT Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of reflect for English Language Learners

  • 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

REFLECT Defined for Kids


verb re·flect \ri-ˈflekt\

Definition of reflect for Students




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

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

  3. 3 :  to make known The book reflects her beliefs.

  4. 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. 5 :  to think seriously and carefully about I reflected on the problem.

Word Root of reflect

The Latin word flectere, meaning “to bend” or “to curve,” and its form flexus give us the roots flect and flex. Words from the Latin flectere have something to do with bending or curving. To flex is to cause something, such as a muscle, to curve or bend. Something flexible can be bent without breaking. To deflect, or turn aside, is to bend the direction of something. To reflect is to bend an image back to the person looking at a mirror or other shiny surface.

Medical Dictionary


verb re·flect \ri-ˈflekt\

Medical Definition of reflect

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

  2. 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

  3. intransitive verb

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

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