reflect

verb

re·​flect ri-ˈflekt How to pronounce reflect (audio)
reflected; reflecting; reflects

transitive verb

1
: to prevent passage of and cause to change direction
a mirror reflects light
2
: to give back or exhibit as an image, likeness, or outline : mirror
the clouds were reflected in the water
3
: to bring or cast as a result
his attitude reflects little credit on his judgment
4
: to make manifest or apparent : show
the painting reflects his artistic vision
the pulse reflects the condition of the heart
5
6
: to bend or fold back
7
archaic : to turn into or away from a course : deflect

intransitive verb

1
: to throw back light or sound
2
a
: to think quietly and calmly
b
: to express a thought or opinion resulting from reflection
3
a
: 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
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.
Recent Examples on the Web The Seine turned into a protest site in June when activists threatened to defecate the river for the same reason, reflecting how the river is a crucial but sensitive part of the Olympics. Ryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 6 July 2024 The waves reflected off the asteroid and traveled back to the network satellite dish’s antenna. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 6 July 2024 The Sentinel often adapts editorials that reflect our overall point of view. Miami Herald Editorial Board, Orlando Sentinel, 5 July 2024 The sleek, minimalist bottle with its clean lines and understated label reflects the sophistication of the fragrance within. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, 5 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for reflect 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reflect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 7

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

Dictionary Entries Near reflect

Cite this Entry

“Reflect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reflect. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

reflect

verb
re·​flect ri-ˈflekt How to pronounce reflect (audio)
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 as if by a mirror
3
: to bring as a result
4
: to cast disapproval or blame
our bad conduct reflects upon our training
5
: to think seriously and carefully : meditate

Medical Definition

reflect

transitive verb
re·​flect ri-ˈflekt How to pronounce reflect (audio)
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

More from Merriam-Webster on reflect

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