reflex

noun
re·​flex | \ ˈrē-ˌfleks How to pronounce reflex (audio) \

Definition of reflex

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a archaic : reflected heat, light, or color
b : a mirrored image
c : a copy exact in essential or peculiar features
2a : an automatic and often inborn response to a stimulus that typically involves a nerve impulse passing inward from a receptor to the spinal cord and then passing outward from the spinal cord to an effector (such as a muscle or gland) without reaching the level of consciousness and often without passing to the brain the knee-jerk reflex
b : the process that culminates in a reflex and comprises reception, transmission, and reaction

called also reflex action

c reflexes plural : the power of acting or responding with adequate speed
d : a way of thinking or behaving
3 : a linguistic element (such as a word or sound) or system (such as writing) that is derived from a prior and especially an older element or system boat is the reflex of Old English bāt

reflex

adjective

Definition of reflex (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : directed back on the mind or its operations : introspective
2 : reflexed
3 : produced or carried out in reaction, resistance, or return
4 of an angle : being between 180° and 360°
5 : of, relating to, or produced by a reflex without intervention of consciousness

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Other Words from reflex

Adjective

reflexly adverb

Examples of reflex in a Sentence

Noun

reflexes such as swallowing and blinking Disagreeing with my suggestions has become almost a reflex for him. an athlete with great reflexes My reflexes are slower now that I'm older.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Minutes after his goal, Kean nearly scored again, denied only by a reflex save from onrushing goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski. Andrew Dampf, The Seattle Times, "Kean keeps up scoring form in Juventus win over Empoli," 30 Mar. 2019 And then there’s drain cleaning: Running a power auger through a clogged sewer is not for people with a low gag reflex. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become a Skilled Tradesperson," 13 Mar. 2019 But, really, people like Padraic — who, having been deemed too mad for even the Irish Republican Army, creates his own splinter of a splinter group — are folks for whom wholesale destruction has become a conditioned reflex. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Orlando Bloom and Aidan Turner Are Drenched in Blood in London," 4 July 2018 Backing down is anathema to Trump Trump has a reflex to defend people in his orbit who have been accused of behaving badly. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Why does Scott Pruitt still have his job? 4 theories.," 6 June 2018 All mammals have a diving reflex, but marine mammals like seals have a particularly strong one. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Bodies Remodeled for a Life at Sea," 19 Apr. 2018 The sneeze reflex is usually activated when your nose’s mucous membranes are irritated. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Quick Question: Why Do We Sneeze?," 8 Mar. 2019 Riders are judged on elements including their ability to stay on the bull and to display quick reflexes. Patrick Connolly, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Silver Spurs Rodeo brings bucking bulls back to Kissimmee," 2 June 2018 The senior has a big serve, a big forehand, a quality return game along with quick reflexes, Leighton said. Rich Mayor, chicagotribune.com, "Boys tennis notes: Oleksyi Vyshyvanyuk finds doubles success at Lake Forest," 25 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

One reason the finger must stay off the trigger is that the reflex action of the finger to surprise could cause a loaded gun to fire. Christine Cunningham, Alaska Dispatch News, "Gun-safety rules apply in the photo studio too," 18 July 2017 Sauvignon blancs and grüner veltliners are reflex choices and would be fine. David Tanis, New York Times, "My New Favorite Beans," 17 Mar. 2017

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

Noun

1508, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1607, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for reflex

Noun

Latin reflexus, past participle of reflectere to reflect

Adjective

Latin reflexus

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Statistics for reflex

Last Updated

9 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reflex

The first known use of reflex was in 1508

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More Definitions for reflex

reflex

noun

English Language Learners Definition of reflex

: an action or movement of the body that happens automatically as a reaction to something
: something that you do without thinking as a reaction to something
: the natural ability to react quickly

reflex

noun
re·​flex | \ ˈrē-ˌfleks How to pronounce reflex (audio) \

Kids Definition of reflex

1 : an action or movement that is made automatically without thinking as a reaction to a stimulus
2 reflexes plural : the natural ability to react quickly A driver needs good reflexes.

reflex

noun
re·​flex | \ ˈrē-ˌfleks How to pronounce reflex (audio) \

Medical Definition of reflex

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : reflected heat, light, or color
b : a mirrored image
2a : an automatic and often inborn response to a stimulus that involves a nerve impulse passing inward from a receptor to the spinal cord and thence outward to an effector (as a muscle or gland) without reaching the level of consciousness and often without passing to the brain the knee-jerk reflex
b : the process that culminates in a reflex and comprises reception, transmission, and reaction
c reflexes plural : the power of acting or responding with adequate speed

reflex

adjective

Medical Definition of reflex (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : bent, turned, or directed back : reflected
2 : of, relating to, or produced by a reflex without intervention of consciousness

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More from Merriam-Webster on reflex

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reflex

Spanish Central: Translation of reflex

Nglish: Translation of reflex for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reflex for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about reflex

Comments on reflex

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