re·​flec·​tion | \ ri-ˈflek-shən How to pronounce reflection (audio) \

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 How to pronounce reflectional (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for reflection


comment, note, remark

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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

Jelena McWilliams, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, decided to share some personal reflections along with encouraging words... James Freeman, WSJ, "America’s Most Inspiring Bureaucrats," 15 Mar. 2019 The system will use the loud, impulsive sounds produced by snapping shrimp as sources of opportunity in a multi static sonar system - detecting reflections of those sounds off of the underwater vehicle. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "DARPA Wants to Turn Sealife Into a Giant Submarine Detection Network," 5 Mar. 2019 Palm Sunday signals the end of Lent, the 40-day period of fasting and reflection that begins on Ash Wednesday, and kicks off Holy Week, the seven days leading up to Easter. Woman's Day Staff, Woman's Day, "When Is Palm Sunday? Here's Everything You Need to Know," 4 Mar. 2019 Locals say that in the early 19th century, the Dutch Governor-General Albert Kikkert suffered from migraine headaches made worse by the reflection of the bright Caribbean sun on white buildings. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 25 most colorful cities in the world," 19 Feb. 2019 Instead of a standard checklist, bullet journaling requires daily, monthly, and yearly reflections along with bullet points and asterisks galore. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "What Is a Bullet Journal? Everything You Need to Know Before You BuJo," 30 Jan. 2019 Black rhino—some mammalian reflection of the Jurassic, thick-skinned toughness of this landscape—lumber through the ravines, lunching on the weird euphorbia plants that are toxic to most other creatures. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 The digital world is just a reflection of the real, physical world, and there are always gonna be bad actors and people who are coming up with loopholes and ways to perform bad actions, effectively. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Lauren Goode returns for the final episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask," 3 Aug. 2018 The evening featured plenty of reflection from some of our fave celebs. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Here's How Celebs Including Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, and Gigi Hadid Celebrated the New Year," 1 Jan. 2019

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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Last Updated

21 Mar 2019

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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 How to pronounce reflection (audio) \

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 How to pronounce reflexion (audio) \

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 flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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