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

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 Kwyn wants her open mike to be a reflection of the city's beauty. Matt Harvey, Chicago Reader, "Chicagoans / Poetry / Race South-side poet Kwynology wants people to fall back in love with Chicago at her open mike," 25 June 2018 This not only highlights how science is not truly objective or universal, but shows that science itself is a reflection of the underlying culture. Smithsonian, "Andean Solstice Celebrations Capture the Wondrous Churn of Spacetime," 22 June 2018 The potential contained in any plant species is really a reflection of their history. Eric Boodman, STAT, "Will launching plants into orbit yield new medicines?," 22 June 2018 President Obama in the quiet moment, in the reflection. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Former NSA and CIA director General Michael Hayden on Recode Decode," 19 June 2018 In a reflection of our pell-mell culture, Supreme’s T-shirts have featured a range of pop icons from the rapper Nas to Kate Moss to Elmo. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Supreme May be the Hottest Clothing Brand in America. Should You Care?," 6 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

3 Oct 2018

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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 \

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).


not any or not one

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