re·flec·tion | \ri-ˈflek-shən \

Definition of reflection 

1 : an instance of reflecting especially : the return of light or sound waves from a surface

2 : the production of an image by or as if by a mirror

3a : the action of bending or folding back

b : a reflected part : fold

4 : something produced by reflecting: such as

a : an image given back by a reflecting surface

b : an effect produced by an influence the high crime rate is a reflection of our violent society

5 : an often obscure or indirect criticism : reproach a reflection on his character

6 : a thought, idea, or opinion formed or a remark made as a result of meditation

7 : consideration of some subject matter, idea, or purpose

8 obsolete : turning back : return

9a : a transformation of a figure in which each point is replaced by a point symmetric with respect to a line or plane

b : a transformation that involves reflection in more than one axis of a rectangular coordinate system

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Other Words from reflection

reflectional \ri-ˈflek-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for reflection


disgrace, dishonor, opprobrium, reproach, scandal


credit, honor

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Examples of reflection in a Sentence

She was looking at her reflection in the mirror. He saw the reflections of the clouds on the lake.

Recent Examples on the Web

For us, democracy is not a component of regional interests or foreign-policy orientation but a reflection of values and convictions. Vivienne Walt, Time, "Meet 4 Crusaders Who Are Keeping the Dream of Democracy Alive," 12 July 2018 The exemption from taxes, for instance, is less an incentive than a reflection of the reality that nearly all farmers earn less than the minimum taxable income. The Economist, "India’s government claims to subsidise farmers, but actually hurts them," 12 July 2018 Last week, its executive director abruptly stepped down, a reflection of its troubles. The Christian Science Monitor, "Thai cave rescue: a metaphor on climate adaptation," 9 July 2018 Brazil were unusually wasteful in the first half and they were nearly punished when Belgium had a goal harshly ruled out for no apparent reason - a reflection of the quality of refereeing for the entire tournament., "World Cup Preview: Brazil vs Belgium - Previous Meeting, Team News, Predictions & More," 5 July 2018 The fact that violent language exists in my field is not just a mere historical curiosity, but a reflection of the fact that my community continues to be an exclusionary and hostile environment for marginalized folks. Smithsonian, "Andean Solstice Celebrations Capture the Wondrous Churn of Spacetime," 22 June 2018 The dress is a reflection of her: strong and sassy because of the corset, soft and feminine like the ruffles, precious like the Swarovski crystals, and endearing like the pleats. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Luar’s Raul Lopez Made a Wedding Dress Designed to Make You Feel Like You’re on Love ’Shrooms," 11 July 2018 Burn bans were still in effect Thursday in Anchorage and the Mat-Su, a reflection of nervousness among fire officials about dry conditions. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "Dry weather keeps burn bans in effect for Anchorage and Mat-Su," 6 July 2018 Combining Eastern Mediterranean architectural design and vibrant, colorful elements, the décor is a reflection of the rich heritage of the owners, Abed Ahmad and his brother-in-law Ala Alhamed. Claire Perez,, "Moroccan chicken tagine a flavorful and aromatic stew," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reflection.' 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 reflection

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for reflection

Middle English, alteration of reflexion, from Late Latin reflexion-, reflexio act of bending back, from Latin reflectere

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Phrases Related to reflection

no reflection on

on/upon reflection

Statistics for reflection

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reflection

The first known use of reflection was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for reflection



English Language Learners Definition of reflection

: an image that is seen in a mirror or on a shiny surface

: something that shows the effect, existence, or character of something else

: something that causes people to disapprove of a person or thing


re·flec·tion | \ri-ˈflek-shən \

Kids Definition of reflection

1 : the return of light or sound waves from a surface

2 : an image produced by or as if by a mirror

3 : something that brings blame or disgrace It's a reflection on my honesty.

4 : careful thought After much reflection, I agreed.

5 : an opinion formed or a remark made after careful thought


variants: also British reflexion \ri-ˈflek-shən \

Medical Definition of reflection 

1 : an instance of reflecting especially : the return of light or sound waves from a surface

2 : the production of an image by or as if by a mirror

3a : the action of bending or folding back

b : a reflected part or a fold the mesentery is a reflection of the peritoneum

4 : something produced by reflecting especially : an image given back by a reflecting surface

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Comments on reflection

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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