re·​frac·​tive | \ ri-ˈfrak-tiv How to pronounce refractive (audio) \

Definition of refractive

1 : having power to refract
2 : relating or due to refraction

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from refractive

refractively adverb
refractiveness noun
refractivity \ ˌrē-​ˌfrak-​ˈti-​və-​tē How to pronounce refractivity (audio) , ri-​ \ noun

Examples of refractive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To accompany her refractive and fringed Versace dress, Doja pulled her onyx mane into an extra-long updo, the ponytail tautly twisted and left to reach well past her hips. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Doja Cat Makes a Mile-Long Ponytail All Her Own With Artful Baby Hairs," 31 Aug. 2020 These researchers found an older (over 500-million-years-old) trilobite eye a few years ago and noted a meager, non-calcite lens that left the refractive work to beefy cone cells. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Fabulous fossil preserves eyes of 429-million-year-old trilobite," 15 Aug. 2020 The ultra-thin eye piece is made possible by a holographic lens, which can be installed much closer to the display panel than a conventional refractive lens. Fortune, "How designers are visualizing America’s failure to cope with COVID-19," 7 July 2020 Holographic films used to focus the image onto the eye also eliminate the need for the kinds of bulky refractive lensing systems found in current headsets. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "How holographic tech is shrinking VR displays to the size of sunglasses," 30 June 2020 Johnson deftly spins the little that is definitively known about the life of Mary Ellen into a refractive portrait of a spirited, restless individual. The New Yorker, "What We’re Reading This Summer," 7 June 2020 Its aim was to understand refractive errors in vision that cause blurring and spectacle usage among truckers and transporters. Prachi Salve, Quartz India, "“Sleepless for days”: Indian truckers are overworked, underpaid, and have no healthcare," 12 Feb. 2020 Their collective vision is represented in the hypnotic new video, which sees Gandhi, Ti and Catherine moving through a series of refractive-light sets, interacting with waterfalls, a romantic pool, and, in Gandhi's case, a killer drum set. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Madame Gandhi Breaks Down Her Queer Femme-Focused 'See Me Thru' Video: Watch," 21 Jan. 2020 There are other kinds of refractive errors that can mess with your vision, but the point is that corrective lenses like eyeglasses can help address them. Patia Braithwaite, SELF, "Here’s Why You Might Get a Headache From New Glasses," 20 Nov. 2019

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

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about refractive

Time Traveler for refractive

Time Traveler

The first known use of refractive was in 1673

See more words from the same year

Statistics for refractive

Last Updated

7 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Refractive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for refractive


re·​frac·​tive | \ ri-ˈfrak-tiv How to pronounce refractive (audio) \

Medical Definition of refractive

1 : having power to refract a refractive lens
2 : relating to or due to refraction refractive phenomena refractive dispersion of light

Other Words from refractive

refractively adverb

Comments on refractive

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!