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

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Other Words from reflective

reflectively adverb
reflectiveness noun

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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 Last month’s drop in labor participation was reflective entirely of women, suggesting that many working mothers are still caring for children at home. Christopher Rugaber, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Oct. 2021 But remember that the strength of authenticity stems from your ability to be self-reflective and use input and feedback to drive your own personal growth. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 Over the past year, the Houston-by-way-of-Arkansas musician has scattered a set of delicately self-reflective and vulnerable tracks across the internet. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, 30 Sep. 2021 In addition to self-reflective autobiographies, Morris had a flair for writing descriptive portraits of cities, such as Oxford, Venice, Hong Kong, New York, and Trieste. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, 9 Aug. 2021 That’s not to say the film isn’t self-reflective in a cheerfully meta way. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 24 June 2021 Marx’s offer was unusually public and self-reflective, given the opaque manner in which Catholic prelates usually step down. Washington Post, 4 June 2021 Chipotle called the move a one-time modification that’s not reflective of Niccol's ongoing pay package., 28 May 2021 For her, private commemoration, along with the contemplation of art, is a way of developing the kind of self-reflective, generous-minded citizenship necessary for a functional democracy. Sophie Pinkham, Harper's Magazine, 25 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for reflective

Time Traveler

The first known use of reflective was in 1627

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Dictionary Entries Near reflective

reflection twin


reflective judgment

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Statistics for reflective

Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reflective.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.

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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 : thoughtful


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

More from Merriam-Webster on reflective

Nglish: Translation of reflective for Spanish Speakers


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