re·​flec·​tive | \ ri-ˈflek-tiv How to pronounce reflective (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from reflective

reflectively adverb
reflectiveness 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

Mesh adjustable straps, reflective aspects to keep you safe, and a small pocket for cell phone or keys. James Lynch, Popular Mechanics, "Best Hydration Packs to Keep You Going on Your Next Adventure," 28 Mar. 2019 The wall that’s now covered by a consistent, stationary background of plants, loosely resembling the ivy at Wrigley Field in Chicago, was initially painted with semi-gloss paint that proved to be too reflective. Dave Campbell, The Seattle Times, "Spruced up: Twins try juniper plants for CF backdrop," 25 Mar. 2019 This item was on the list because a friend had informed me that huge numbers of birds keep flying into the beautiful reflective glass of the stadium and dying. Caity Weaver, GQ, "My Magical Quest to Destroy Tom Brady and Win a Philadelphia Eagles Mini-Fridge at Super Bowl LII," 6 Feb. 2018 Some of the reflective materials and shapes were inspired by Nike’s extensive archive in Beaverton, Oregon, though the collaboration’s pièce de résistance comes from an elusive source. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Nike’s Ambush Collection Treats Style Like a Sport," 30 Nov. 2018 Instead, opt for brighter colors and more reflective materials, like glass. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "13 Ways To Make Even The Tiniest Bathroom Feel Like A Spa," 21 Aug. 2018 The metamaterial Swartzlander is proposing would have several advantages over the reflective materials of the past. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "New NASA Satellite Could Be Powered By a Synthetic Solar Sail," 17 July 2018 Officers have special uniforms for the patrol, which includes reflective material to help them be seen. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "South Milwaukee cops bring back bicycle patrol, might get motorized Cheata bicycle," 13 June 2018 Instead, the authors look into partly reflective materials that have a high refractive index and low absorption. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "The material science of building a light sail to take us to Alpha Centauri," 7 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of reflective

1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reflective

Statistics for reflective

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reflective

The first known use of reflective was in 1627

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for reflective



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 How to pronounce reflective (audio) \

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on reflective

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reflective

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reflective

Spanish Central: Translation of reflective

Nglish: Translation of reflective for Spanish Speakers

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).


having no equal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!