Definition of reflect in English:

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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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
2 [no object] (usually reflect on/upon) Think deeply or carefully about: he reflected with sadness on the unhappiness of his marriage [with clause]: Charles reflected that maybe there was hope for the family after all
More example sentences
  • Anyone who carefully reflects on the merit of this legislation will see that it is hugely flawed.
  • That is a serious matter that I think this House should reflect on very carefully.
  • Maybe she will then reflect on that further, as we go through the legislation.
think about, give thought to, consider, give consideration to, review, mull over, contemplate, study, cogitate about/on, meditate on, muse on, deliberate about/on, ruminate about/on/over, dwell on, brood on/over, agonize over, worry about, chew over, puzzle over, speculate about, weigh up, revolve, turn over in one's mind, be in a brown study
informal put on one's thinking cap
archaic pore on
rare cerebrate
2.1 archaic Make disparaging remarks about: the clergy were strictly charged not to reflect on the Catholic religion in their discourses


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

Words that rhyme with reflect

affect, bisect, bull-necked, collect, confect, connect, correct, defect, deflect, deject, detect, direct, effect, eject, elect, erect, expect, infect, inflect, inject, inspect, interconnect, interject, intersect, misdirect, neglect, object, perfect, project, prospect, protect, reject, respect, resurrect, sect, select, subject, suspect, transect, unchecked, Utrecht

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re|flect

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