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

Definition of reflect

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
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
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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Synonyms for reflect


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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 layoffs appear to reflect a repositioning of the data center group, which is among Intel’s most profitable. oregonlive, "Intel plans layoffs in data center group," 17 Jan. 2020 This story has been corrected to reflect that the student killed was 19, not 16.__Bleiberg reported from Dallas. Juan A. Lozano And Jake Bleiberg, USA TODAY, "Texas teen mistakenly killed friend in high school ROTC class, officials say," 16 Jan. 2020 Diversifying the health care workforce to reflect patient populations is one solution. Uché Blackstock, STAT, "Why Black doctors like me are leaving faculty positions in academic medical centers," 16 Jan. 2020 Each new chair of the chamber selects a theme to reflect his or her agenda., "Ayala: A new generation rises at San Antonio’s Hispanic chamber," 16 Jan. 2020 An indicator of what’s happening roughly two meters above the earth’s surface and two meters below sea level, surface temperature data tends to reflect what most people feel in their day-to-day lives. New York Times, "One Thing We Can Do: Fix Recycling," 15 Jan. 2020 The two spoke on the condition of anonymity to reflect private conversations. Annie Linskey,, "The explosive question for Democrats: Can a woman defeat Trump in November?," 14 Jan. 2020 Other companies, like Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), are diversifying their portfolios to reflect shifting taste away from highly caloric beverages to lighter alternatives. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, "Americans' wine consumption dropped for the first time in 25 years," 14 Jan. 2020 But given that beer, wine and spirits are taxed in different ways to reflect different means of production, lawmakers took varying approaches to achieve lower tax burdens for each type. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "‘Last-minute save’: Texas makers of beer, wine and spirits raise a glass to Congress for extending valuable tax break," 13 Jan. 2020

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 7

History and Etymology for reflect

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

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Time Traveler for reflect

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for reflect

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reflect.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for reflect


How to pronounce reflect (audio)

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 How to pronounce reflect (audio) \
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.
re·​flect | \ ri-ˈflekt How to pronounce reflect (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on reflect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reflect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reflect

Spanish Central: Translation of reflect

Nglish: Translation of reflect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reflect for Arabic Speakers

Comments on reflect

What made you want to look up reflect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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