re·flec·tive | \ri-ˈflek-tiv \

Definition of reflective 

1 : capable of reflecting light, images, or sound waves

3 : of, relating to, or caused by reflection reflective glare

5 : reflecting something : indicative how fashion is reflective of society— Glenda Bailey

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Other Words from reflective

reflectively adverb
reflectiveness noun
reflectivity \ˌrē-ˌflek-ˈti-və-tē, ri- \ noun

Did You Know?

Reflective people are people who reflect on things--that is, look back at things that have been done or said in order to think calmly and quietly about them. Most reflective people would agree with Socrates that (as he told the jury that would soon sentence him to death) "The unexamined life is not worth living". Reflective people tend to be a bit philosophical and intellectual. But almost everyone has reflective moods; gazing into a fireplace or a campfire seems to do it to almost everyone.

Examples of reflective in a Sentence

the reflective glare of the shiny metal She was in a very reflective mood.

Recent Examples on the Web

The pavilion’s reflective exterior mirrored the ancient building’s pale brick walls and even the famed storks nesting in the ramparts. Hamish Bowles, Vogue, "In Marrakech, Van Cleef & Arpels Celebrate 50 Years of Its Iconic Alhambra Design," 25 May 2018 Just as other confidants have reported after seeing McCain at his ranch outside Sedona, Arizona, Graham described his friend as reflective and eager to reminisce. Dana Bash, CNN, "Graham says McCain is 'getting stronger'," 10 May 2018 According to a release, the upgraded signs are brighter, more reflective and meet new federal standards. Rosemarie Stein,, "Portland Metro Tuesday Traffic: Paving coming for NE 18th Street in Vancouver later this week," 17 Apr. 2018 The album sharply focuses on mental health in deeply self-reflective lyrics that find Kanye looking inward at a tumultuous phase in his life. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Pusha T & Drake's Feud, Kanye's G.O.O.D. Music Domination, XXXTentacion's Death, 'Scorpion' & More: Recapping a Wild 40 Days in Hip-Hop," 2 July 2018 The signage too, will be reflective of yesteryear, designed to fit in with the residential nature of the neighborhood including the original town hall across the street, now the home of Liberty Township Historical Society. Sue Kiesewetter,, "Rail station facade a nod to Liberty admin building's history," 5 June 2018 The self-reflective message comes as PEOPE confirms that Cena, 41, and Bella, 34, are officially back together after calling off their wedding in April. Michele Corriston,, "John Cena Talks About 'Being Accountable' as He Rekindles His Romance with Nikki Bella," 1 June 2018 The class also took a self-reflective approach to learning. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Kingwood youth program fills void of suburban acting programs," 2 May 2018 The arena's circular shape and highly-reflective dome roof amplifies sound and funnels it downward toward center court. Tom Groeschen,, "Accounting for UC's AAC title win over Wichita, and a look ahead to postseason tourneys," 5 Mar. 2018

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

1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

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The first known use of reflective was in 1627

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English Language Learners Definition of reflective

: causing light, sound, or heat to move away : reflecting light, sound, or heat

: relating to or caused by light that reflects off a surface

: thinking carefully about something


re·flec·tive | \ri-ˈflek-tiv \

Medical Definition of reflective 

1 : capable of reflecting light, images, or sound waves

2 : of, relating to, or caused by reflection reflective glare of the snow

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Comments on reflective

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


not any or not one

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