re·​flect | \ ri-ˈflekt How to pronounce reflect (audio) \
reflected; reflecting; reflects

Definition of reflect

transitive verb

1 : to prevent passage of and cause to change direction a mirror reflects light
2 : to give back or exhibit as an image, likeness, or outline : mirror the clouds were reflected in the water
3 : to bring or cast as a result his attitude reflects little credit on his judgment
4 : to make manifest or apparent : show the painting reflects his artistic vision the pulse reflects the condition of the heart
6 : to bend or fold back
7 archaic : to turn into or away from a course : deflect

intransitive verb

1 : to throw back light or sound
2a : to think quietly and calmly
b : to express a thought or opinion resulting from reflection
3a : to tend to bring reproach or discredit an investigation that reflects on all the members of the department
b : to bring about a specified appearance or characterization an act which reflects well on her
c : to have a bearing or influence

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Synonyms for reflect


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think, cogitate, reflect, reason, speculate, deliberate mean to use one's powers of conception, judgment, or inference. think is general and may apply to any mental activity, but used alone often suggests attainment of clear ideas or conclusions. teaches students how to think cogitate implies deep or intent thinking. cogitated on the mysteries of nature reflect suggests unhurried consideration of something recalled to the mind. reflecting on fifty years of married life reason stresses consecutive logical thinking. able to reason brilliantly in debate speculate implies reasoning about things theoretical or problematic. speculated on the fate of the lost explorers deliberate suggests slow or careful reasoning before forming an opinion or reaching a conclusion or decision. the jury deliberated for five hours

Examples of reflect in a Sentence

The old church is reflected in the glass exterior of the skyscraper. Her book clearly reflects her beliefs. Where you learned a language is reflected in your accent.
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Recent Examples on the Web The record numbers wouldn't reflect underlying economic health. Washington Examiner, "Record economic growth on the way as election approaches," 5 Aug. 2020 The Wild was the second team to shut out its opponent in the qualifiers after Columbus blanked Toronto 2-0 earlier Sunday, and that feat didn't just reflect clean play from Stalock or the defense. Sarah Mclellan, Star Tribune, "Too quiet in fan-less arena? Not along a vocal Wild bench," 4 Aug. 2020 Asked about the exchange, Bajandas said the emails speak for themselves but don’t reflect the institute’s current management. oregonlive, "What happened when a public institute became a de facto lobbying arm of the timber industry," 4 Aug. 2020 The National Weather Service’s rainfall totals didn’t reflect any Carroll areas as of 3:30 p.m., but listed Glyndon with 1.83 inches to the east and Bloomfield, just west of Frederick, with 1.54 inches. Pat Stoetzer,, "Carroll County skirts damage from Tropical Storm Isaias," 4 Aug. 2020 These numbers are based on differences in daily cumulative totals and do not neccesarily reflect new hospital check-ins. Aric Chokey,, "Monitoring Florida’s COVID-19 case surge: These are the numbers to watch.," 3 Aug. 2020 Unfortunately, recent comments made by former Mayor Poynter did not and do not reflect the values and beliefs of city administration, business leaders and residents of the City of Harper Woods. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Harper Woods Mayor Kenneth Poynter resigns after white supremacy comment," 31 July 2020 While acknowledging the widespread downsides to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Lovato looks at the silver lining: being allowed the time to pause and reflect. Benjamin Vanhoose,, "Demi Lovato Shares How She's Working on Herself — and Relearning to Cry: 'It Was a Beautiful Thing'," 7 July 2020 Overall, Monday’s case counts reflect a slight drop in new cases after record-breaking daily highs reported late last week, in advance of the holiday weekend. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, "Number of Alaska COVID-19 patients hospitalized reaches new high," 7 July 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 7

History and Etymology for reflect

Middle English, from Latin reflectere to bend back, from re- + flectere to bend

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Time Traveler for reflect

Time Traveler

The first known use of reflect was in the 15th century

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Statistics for reflect

Last Updated

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reflect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for reflect


How to pronounce reflect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of reflect

of light, sound, etc. : to move in one direction, hit a surface, and then quickly move in a different and usually opposite direction
: to show the image of (something) on a surface
: to show (something) : to make (something) known


re·​flect | \ ri-ˈflekt How to pronounce reflect (audio) \
reflected; reflecting

Kids Definition of reflect

1 : to bend or throw back (waves of light, sound, or heat) A polished surface reflects light.
2 : to give back an image or likeness of in the manner of a mirror The clouds were reflected in the water.
3 : to make known The book reflects her beliefs.
4 : to cause to be thought of in a specified way or in a bad way Your poor behavior reflects on the whole class.
5 : to think seriously and carefully about I reflected on the problem.
re·​flect | \ ri-ˈflekt How to pronounce reflect (audio) \

Medical Definition of reflect

1 : to bend or fold back : impart a backward curve, bend, or fold to
2 : to push or lay aside (as tissue or an organ) during surgery in order to gain access to the part to be operated on the pleura were reflected and later closed over the stump

intransitive verb

: to throw back light or sound : return rays, beams, or waves

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More from Merriam-Webster on reflect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reflect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reflect

Spanish Central: Translation of reflect

Nglish: Translation of reflect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reflect for Arabic Speakers

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