Definition of reflexive in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈflɛksɪv/


1 Grammar Denoting a pronoun that refers back to the subject of the clause in which it is used, e.g. myself, themselves.
Example sentences
  • The term emphatic pronoun refers to a reflexive pronoun used to emphasize a noun phrase, as in ‘The town itself is very old’ and ‘Well, you said it yourself.’
  • English requires the use of prepositional phrases and reflexive and other pronouns to communicate what the middle morpheme could alone.
1.1(Of a verb or clause) having a reflexive pronoun as its object (e.g. wash oneself).
Example sentences
  • In the first, called intrinsic reflexivization, a predicate is marked as a reflexive predicate in the lexicon.
  • A French language lesson follows with the Brother conjugating the reflexive verb déshabiller, ‘to undress’.
  • What should be emphasized here is the use of the reflexive verb - ‘devalue themselves’.
2 Logic (Of a relation) always holding between a term and itself.
Example sentences
  • For a family of paradoxes, with similar levels of intractability, have been discovered, which are not reflexive in this way.
3(Of a method or theory in the social sciences) taking account of itself or of the effect of the personality or presence of the researcher on what is being investigated.
Example sentences
  • Kavoori calls this a reflexive mode born of an increasing familiarity with the narrative conventions of news and an awareness of the institutional imperatives of media industries (Kavoori).
  • But first of all, in a reflexive mode, let me say something about my own background which will help to place my interests in this conjunction of cultures in context.
  • The ultimate reflexive investigation of investigation occurs in that branch of philosophy known as epistemology, the theory of knowledge.
4(Of an action) performed as a reflex, without conscious thought: at concerts like this one standing ovations have become reflexive
More example sentences
  • Finally, under life-threatening stress, you won't attempt a task if you do not have total confidence in your reflexive ability to perform it well.
  • According to neurologists, such reflexive activities are neither conscious nor signs of awareness.
  • Sometimes it's conscious, sometimes reflexive, but the basic trend is not in doubt.


A reflexive word or form, especially a pronoun.
Example sentences
  • NP-anaphora can be encoded by gaps, pronouns, reflexives, names, and descriptions.
  • Binding is concerned with the type of anaphora found with pronouns and reflexives, but the notion is greatly extended.
  • In other languages, reflexives are even less amenable to a two-participant interpretation.



Example sentences
  • Although, admittedly, the reflexiveness of making sure nothing is misunderstood is one of their more annoying traits, an unfortunate after-effect of the whole authenticity thing that drives them, I fear.
  • The second sense is that of aesthetic experiment, and there is a similar reflexiveness here: the magazine's poetry and prose contributions read more promisingly as tests of the avant-garde than as attempts at being avant-garde.
  • The paintings take a bit of getting used to, being both modern in their reflexiveness and old-fashioned in their genre.


Pronunciation: /rɪflɛkˈsɪvɪti/
Example sentences
  • Ordinal numbers (subject to such axioms as reflexivity, symmetry, and transitivity) are only used for comparison.
  • Giddens too easily constructs the reflexive self as a functional whole, all units - reflexivity, practical consciousness and the unconscious - working for the overall benefit of the self.
  • Through the discontinuity of these ‘related but discrete articles’ the continuous reflexivity of an epistemological concern emerges.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re¦flex|ive

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