Definition of reflect in English:


Line breaks: re|flect
Pronunciation: /rɪˈflɛkt


  • 1 [with object] (Of a surface or body) throw back (heat, light, or sound) without absorbing it: when the sun’s rays hit the Earth a lot of the heat is reflected back into space
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    • The lightness or darkness of a color affects whether it can absorb or reflect heat and light.
    • Reflectance, on the other hand, is determined by how much of the surface is reflecting the light.
    • Venetian blinds, although not as effective as draperies, can be adjusted to let in some light and air while reflecting the sun's heat.
  • 1.1(Of a mirror or shiny surface) show an image of: he could see himself reflected in Keith’s mirrored glasses
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    • The oval mirror reflects me sitting on the bed, framed by the intricate lace of the curtains.
    • There are so many of me because the mirrors are reflecting both the original me and the reflections of me, if that makes sense.
    • From its opening shot of a wing mirror reflecting New York taxis shimmering in the night, the film has many moments of visual artistry.
  • 1.2Embody or represent (something) in a faithful or appropriate way: schools should reflect cultural differences
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    • Lydia was a lady now and would have to wear the appropriate clothing to reflect her new status.
    • An amount could, therefore, be agreed at the outset to reflect the appropriate rate for the period.
    • Fortunately, today's Radio 1 is a much more diverse place, better reflecting the cultural choices available in the UK.
    indicate, show, display, demonstrate, be evidence of, register, reveal, betray, evince, disclose, exhibit, manifest; express, bespeak, communicate, bear out, attest, prove, evidence; result from
  • 1.3(Of an action or situation) bring (credit or discredit) to the relevant parties: the main contract is progressing well, which reflects great credit on those involved
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    • Chapman reflects the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
    • It is a sorry tale which reflects no credit on either party.
    • Leeds did manage to stage a late rally, which reflected huge credit on their fighting qualities.
  • 1.4 [no object] (reflect well/badly on) Bring about a good or bad impression of: the incident reflects badly on the operating practices of the airlines
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    • He said: ‘The successful conclusion of this ambitious project reflects well on all concerned.’
    • This is a story that reflects well on all involved - we extend our sincere congratulations.
    • That their constitution has been interpreted to ban public displays of anything Christian is clearly a vast perversion of their intent and thus reflects badly on most of the modern courts that have claimed to interpret it.
    discredit, do discredit to, be a discredit to, disgrace, shame, put in a bad light, damage, damage/tarnish/blemish the reputation of, give a bad name to, bring into disrepute, become a stain/blot of the escutcheon of, detract from


late Middle English: from Old French reflecter or Latin reflectere, from re- 'back' + flectere 'to bend'.

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