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 reflection (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms for reflection


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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 Cleveland Cavaliers’ miserable road trip, recent losing streak and ensuing days off led to plenty of reflection -- a self-assessment of sorts for everyone within the organization. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Collin Sexton makes commitment to take more 3-pointers," 20 Feb. 2021 Six Feet Under has always been about reflection and mortality, so there was no better way to celebrate the groundbreaking HBO series than bringing the cast together over Zoom to do just that. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Watch the cast of 'Six Feet Under' dig deep into their memories of the show," 19 Feb. 2021 For more than 50 years, the Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center in Marriottsville has offered a place of retreat for groups or individuals interested in spending some quiet time in peace, reflection and prayer., "Guide to Howard County 2021: Religion," 19 Feb. 2021 Between the fresh blooms, pastel attire, sweet treats, and even sweeter traditions like dyeing eggs, the day signals an end to the dreariness of winter and the beginning of a season full of joy and reflection. Nathalie Kirby, House Beautiful, "50 Egg-cellent Captions for Your Easter Instagram Photos," 17 Feb. 2021 For Christians, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, a six-week period of reflection and repentance before the resurrection of Jesus is celebrated on Easter. Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune, "Lent kits, ashes to go mark Ash Wednesday during pandemic," 15 Feb. 2021 The six-weeks of Lent lead up to Easter and is a time of fasting and reflection. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Popeyes releases new Cajun flounder sandwich, includes option for insurance," 12 Feb. 2021 The forced pause of COVID and the Black Lives Matter movement has also triggered internal reflection around terminology. Samantha Nobles-block, San Francisco Chronicle, "'A lifesaving thing': Hip-hop dance groups find new purpose amid pandemic," 12 Feb. 2021 And every last email between the first lady, her royal highness, and their staff — every personal reflection, reservation, itinerary change and security detail — was beaming back to former N.S.A. analysts’ computers in Abu Dhabi. New York Times, "How the United States Lost to Hackers," 4 Feb. 2021

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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Time Traveler for reflection

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for reflection

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reflection.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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 reflection (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

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