Definition of reflection in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it.

    ‘the reflection of light’
    • ‘His interest was not so much in the buildings themselves but in the qualities that gave a sense of felt knowledge to a space such as light and its reflection.’
    • ‘It was a beautifully worked out theory and explained most of the observed phenomena of light such as reflection, refraction, diffraction etc.’
    • ‘You see reflection of light all the time - now you known a little bit about why it happens.’
    • ‘More important than their reflection of light is the ability of pigments to absorb certain wavelengths.’
    • ‘English pistols were usually browned to reduce glare and light reflection.’
    • ‘It must have been reflection, as the light was behind me.’
    • ‘You get as close as possible and the black will absorb much of the light and allow no reflection of light back onto that side of the subject's face.’
    • ‘It appears that this is due to reflection of light from the optical bundle onto the inner surface of the sheath.’
    • ‘He then gives 59 theorems on reflection and refraction of light.’
    • ‘The clean seabed here aids visibility and light reflection across the site.’
    • ‘However polarisation of light produced by reflection still provided a strong argument in favour of the corpuscular theory, since no explanation from a wave theory had ever been made.’
    • ‘The ice-free seas will further exacerbate the melt, as the reduced reflection of light will result in the dark seas absorbing more warmth.’
    • ‘It is based on the analysis of light reflection at a fluid meniscus whose radius of curvature is related to its surface tension.’
    • ‘These scratches disturb the flat surface of the stone and light reflection ceases to be uniform so the shine gradually disappears.’
    • ‘The rose in the center, in front of the shrub, receives the best air circulation and least heat reflection from the wall.’
    • ‘These signals are based on the controlled reflection of polarized light from the body surface.’
    • ‘Varied vessel lengths and light reflection create the pattern.’
    • ‘The curly figure in this red maple board is produced largely by the changing angle of light reflection.’
    • ‘Polarization of light by reflection is found more in nature than in industry.’
    • ‘His discovery of the polarisation of light by reflection was published in 1809 and his theory of double refraction of light in crystals in 1810.’
    sending back, throwing back, casting back, mirroring, backscattering
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    1. 1.1[count noun]An amount of light, heat, or sound that is reflected by a body or surface.
      ‘the reflections from the street lamps gave them just enough light’
      • ‘By night, these spots glow from within and by day, the mesh captures muted reflections of changing light and weather conditions.’
      • ‘Light reflections off the chrome surface, reflective windows, everything is used to make you believe you're part of the action.’
      • ‘Small reflections of light at the top left-hand corner of the box underline the lustrous quality of the lacquered surface.’
      • ‘The tile floor was covered with reflections from lights.’
      • ‘The receiving devices samples a plurality of points on the near side of the structure to detect vibrations resulting from reflections of the sound wave from the object.’
      • ‘The intrinsic limitation of plain scanline rendering, however, is that there are no reflections or refractions.’
      • ‘Soon, there was a heap of weapons, whose blades shimmered and rippled with green and grey reflections of thin light.’
      • ‘These directed light to specific task areas, reducing glare and veiling reflections, while ambient light levels were lowered.’
      • ‘Lasers were used to map the pattern of sound reflections from the ceiling to the seating.’
      • ‘There were no lights or reflections to cause this.’
      • ‘It blinked again, then burned steadily - a tiny pinprick of light, spilling reflections of itself across the sea.’
      • ‘Transparent species are susceptible to detection by reflections from their body surface, particularly at shallow depths.’
      • ‘All one need do is hold a specimen of this material under a light to see countless reflections coming off of tiny crystal faces over the entire quartz surface.’
      • ‘Polarized lenses on sunglasses help to reduce glare by not allowing the polarizations that come from reflections through but allowing other light through.’
      • ‘Her eyes caught the reflections from the shiny emblem, but she saw something she didn't notice before.’
      • ‘The side walls cant back 1-1/2 degrees to avoid the sound reflections that parallel walls would generate.’
      • ‘It is even made harder by the reflections of dash lights that are reflected back to the rider.’
      • ‘We may even get more reflections as the light bounces off the surfaces again and again, some of the light escaping each time.’
      • ‘The scanner examines the iris with infrared light that reduces reflections and penetrates glasses and contact lenses, preventing eyewear from interfering with recognition.’
      • ‘Light reflections on the ceramic glaze and the lacquer surface emphasize the lustrous qualities of each.’
    2. 1.2[count noun]An image seen in a mirror or shiny surface.
      ‘Marianne surveyed her reflection in the mirror’
      • ‘This past election was a mirror reflection of the level of concern there is within our community and others throughout Manitoba.’
      • ‘Maria stood admiring her own reflection in the full length bedroom mirror.’
      • ‘He looked in the fogged up mirror at the reflection staring back at him.’
      • ‘Many of the film's most emotionally significant moments are viewed only as reflections in mirrors, as if to look at things directly would be too painful.’
      • ‘Reversal can, of course, be ‘corrected’ by the use of a second mirror, so that the resultant image is of a reflection reflected.’
      • ‘Students also drew self-portraits by looking at their reflections in mirrors.’
      • ‘A dozen girls in ruffled skirts stand, shifting their weight from foot to foot, gazing shyly at their reflections in the mirror.’
      • ‘But then he caught his own reflection in the mirror of the small hall that led to his door.’
      • ‘Just the other day, I caught my reflection in a store window.’
      • ‘She stared at her frazzled reflection in a puddle on the floor.’
      • ‘People in the movie occasionally comment about being filmed, and the audience is given a glancing shot of a mirror, with a reflection of both camera and operator.’
      • ‘Given the way these were lit, the viewer could see not only the photographs, but also reflections of the installation mirrored in their framing glass.’
      • ‘He eyed his distorted reflection in the water.’
      • ‘She walked to the bookstore, and checked her reflection in the glass before going inside.’
      • ‘Deception by mirrors has a basis in optical principles, in so far as reflections in mirrors do not correspond wholly to the objects that caused them.’
      • ‘Mandy squealed in disgust as she got out of the car and checked her reflection in the window.’
      • ‘Cora's image was a pale reflection in the foyer mirror.’
      • ‘Nico looked up, and saw both of their reflections in the mirror.’
      • ‘One nuance Duguay revels in throughout the film is the use of mirrors, windows and reflections.’
      • ‘On the water's edge just a few metres away an elegant white crane admires its reflection in the water.’
      image, mirror image, likeness
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    3. 1.3[count noun]A thing that is a consequence of or arises from something else.
      ‘a healthy skin is a reflection of good health in general’
      • ‘Is my description really one of ineffective practices, or is it a reflection of the tensions inherent in a classroom like this?’
      • ‘Perhaps that is a reflection of the influence he holds.’
      • ‘Once again, this stereotyped thinking is more a defensive reaction to the internet than an accurate reflection of reality.’
      • ‘Both observations could be seen as a reflection or consequence of the cognitive mechanisms underlying sentence processing.’
      • ‘But theory is rarely an accurate reflection of reality.’
      • ‘Yet if we view the Government's recent behaviour as a collective reflection of what happens to each of us when we are under pressure, then things become clearer.’
      • ‘It seems like its all going to his head and his behaviour might be a reflection of his inner demons.’
      • ‘The history of this problem indicates that these controversies are reflections of irresolvable tensions in our thought about agency.’
      • ‘Analysts described the result as a reflection of deep-rooted popular discontent over the state government's failure.’
      • ‘Divorced from their substance, they are not an accurate reflection of the political reality.’
      • ‘Such texts are by no means a straightforward reflection of the actual behaviour of ordinary sinners, but they do reveal a lot about the aims and perceptions of those trying to build a Christian society.’
      • ‘‘The results are a fair reflection of today's reality,’ said Real coach Vicente del Bosque.’
      • ‘Our lips are a reflection of our inner health and as such, they deserve the same care and consideration as the rest of our body.’
      • ‘The final result was a fair reflection of an even contest although City's main concern remains the lack of a goal threat.’
      • ‘If she succeeds, of course, it will be a direct reflection of my influence and work.’
      • ‘And Canegrowers Isis chairman Joe Russo described the outcome as a reflection of the lack of confidence in growing sugar cane.’
      • ‘Umalasi, the independent body that quality assures the exams, was able to declare the results a true reflection of the actual performance of pupils without any hesitation.’
      • ‘Complicating its task is the political reality that these election results are more a reflection of the unpopularity of the NC rather than the appeal of any other party.’
      • ‘But many in Botswana are alarmed at his rise, which they see as a reflection of growing military influence and an authoritarian trend in a country that is less democratic than it seems.’
      • ‘Both teams put in excellent performances and the result was a fair reflection of their efforts.’
      indication, display, demonstration, manifestation
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    4. 1.4[in singular]A thing bringing discredit to someone or something.
      ‘it was a sad reflection on society that because of his affliction he was picked on’
      • ‘Neither of us managed to finish, but that was no reflection on the tastiness of the dishes.’
      • ‘It is no reflection on your skills or performance at all.’
      • ‘This was no reflection on the staff who did an excellent job, he said.’
      • ‘This was no reflection on his competence or integrity.’
      • ‘The Leader of the Opposition will withdraw the reflection on the Minister for Foreign Affairs.’
      • ‘The charity insists the changes are no reflection on the way wardens carried out their duties.’
      • ‘This is no reflection on the persons responsible for their conduct.’
      • ‘Is not this a sad reflection on the society we have become?’
      • ‘I cannot emphasise enough that it is no reflection on the highly valuable work of our excellent employees in Wimbledon.’
      • ‘Both of the men who signed for them said their absence was no reflection on their commitment to peace.’
      • ‘He said the reshuffle was no reflection on the talents of the people stepping down, but was necessary for the ‘radical change’ the business needed.’
      • ‘So I think Republicans and Democrats are very dismayed by the reflection on the institution.’
      • ‘This is no reflection on those sites - far from it - but only on my inability to keep up with them during periods of intense workload.’
      • ‘The fact that it has taken over four years since Westlife's first No.1 single for them to have a homecoming concert is no reflection on the band themselves.’
      • ‘This is no reflection on the strength of our marriage and we are very much enjoying our new life in Spain.’
      • ‘Getting bumped is no reflection on MarineMax, which is one of the best-performing public companies in the Tampa Bay area.’
      • ‘There is no sign of the ‘retired’ Keane in the squad but that is no reflection on the assistance he readily offered Munster for the first two games of the competition.’
      • ‘But that was no reflection on Cook's abilities and most commentators expected him to play an important role in the Labour government as it neared an era of change post-Blair.’
      • ‘The crushing defeat suffered by Comeragh Gaels is no reflection on the efforts of Roger Casey to field a worthy side.’
      • ‘We have a very loyal and hard-working workforce and this decision is no reflection on their commitment to our business.’
      slur, aspersion, imputation, censure, reproach, shame, criticism, source of discredit, derogation
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  • 2[mass noun] Serious thought or consideration.

    ‘he doesn't get much time for reflection’
    • ‘I retire to the toilet for a moment's reflection and a good cry.’
    • ‘It finds no serious reflection in the political deliberations of the US government or in the narrow and reactionary range of opinion that is permitted by the mass media.’
    • ‘At first it depressed me that people gauged their popularity by how many texts they received, but on further reflection I realised that it's nothing new.’
    • ‘In this context the experience of the Alpha Course, one of the most successful tools of evangelism to emerge in recent years, still calls for serious reflection.’
    • ‘This gives me considerable pause, but on further reflection I remain of the opinion that he should be confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States.’
    • ‘All the women involved in the project have benefited enormously from the reflection on their lives that the project encourages.’
    • ‘There has been no shortage of reflection on the substantive nature of the post-Cold War order.’
    • ‘We have a rich tradition of thoughtful theological reflection.’
    • ‘This is immediately exciting, but on further reflection creates many more problems than it solves.’
    • ‘For me, the most absorbing pieces link spiritual reflection and cultural criticism.’
    • ‘The approach adopted is, in general, descriptive with little critical reflection on the existing body of historical literature.’
    • ‘What is required is a national conference to engage in some serious debate and reflection about where we go from here.’
    • ‘But on further reflection we decided that such a limit was really not necessary.’
    • ‘But a moment's reflection shows the absurdity of this idea.’
    • ‘There is no time for balance, reflection, consideration of alternative viewpoints, depth of coverage, etc, etc.’
    • ‘Rational people revise their views in the light of deeper reflection on an issue, or new information which warrants a change of mind.’
    • ‘However on further reflection I realised that this is a news story of great importance.’
    • ‘While initially these findings may seem surprising, a few moments' reflection reveals that they actually ring true.’
    • ‘Here, too, serious reflection is interrupted by nonsensical asides.’
    • ‘Besides, after careful reflection, it was considered redundant.’
    thought, thinking, consideration, contemplation, study, deliberation, pondering, meditation, musing, rumination, cogitation, brooding, agonizing
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    1. 2.1[count noun]An idea about something, especially one that is written down or expressed.
      ‘reflections on human destiny and art’
      • ‘Readers may be tempted to dismiss such reflections as a reactionary tirade against popular government.’
      • ‘First and foremost, it invites us to see Benjamin's reflections on the body as a crucial part of his work rather than a marginal theme.’
      • ‘The section of the book containing the teachers' poignant reflections reveals the degree of isolation new teachers often feel.’
      • ‘He translated his experiences into the seminal work Effectiveness and Efficiency: random reflections on health services, published in 1972.’
      • ‘They wrote personal reflections each morning on the nature of leadership, the meaning of being Latino or their personal values.’
      • ‘But Sermons for Special Occasions, despite its title, is also directed at the general reader as it is in effect a series of reflections on key moments in life.’
      • ‘Barthes's qualities may be best displayed in fragments like the following, a self-conscious reflection upon writing.’
      • ‘No one has yet published a treasure-trove of the private written reflections of our current president.’
      • ‘To avoid any possible influence of these reflections on the results of our analysis, only the top halves of the peaks were used for spacing measurements.’
      • ‘I've been asked to offer some sober reflections on The Latham Diaries.’
      • ‘These reflections on human action derive largely from Aristotle, Aquinas and Kant.’
      • ‘These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed.’
      • ‘Our next issue will be devoted to reflections on the bombing and its consequences.’
      • ‘In our time, a similar concern has arisen in the context of literary reflections on the Nazi death camps.’
      • ‘Her fevered dreams and the many reflections arising from conversations with her sister travelers begin to help her unburden herself of her complicated past.’
      • ‘You may want to write your reflections in a journal or discuss them with a friend or spiritual leader.’
      • ‘Budding sports hacks can learn how to learn to write a ‘fan's diary’ with the help of Tom Palmer, whose reflections on following Leeds United sold thousands of copies.’
      • ‘Take out a notebook and write down your reflections.’
      • ‘In recent years there has been a growing number of politicians and intellectuals who write memoirs or reflections on Djibouti society and its problems, but virtually all of them publish in France.’
      • ‘She is a leader of retreats and workshops, and one can easily imagine these reflections as having arisen in those settings.’
      opinion, thought, view, viewpoint, belief, feeling, idea, impression, conclusion, judgement, assessment, estimation
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  • 3Mathematics
    [count noun] The conceptual operation of inverting a system or event with respect to a plane, each element being transferred perpendicularly through the plane to a point the same distance the other side of it.

    • ‘The reflection symmetry operation, as you might expect, reflects an object with respect to a plane.’
    • ‘There are 880 magic squares of order 4, again excluding reflections and rotations of each pattern.’
    • ‘In this case, the cryptic notation specifies a square pattern with reflections and quarter turns.’
    • ‘Barring rotations and reflections, there are 536 distinct solutions.’
    • ‘If the plane contains the main rotation axis then it is usually called a vertical reflection plane; and if it is perpendicular to the main rotation axis it is known as a horizontal reflection plane.’


Late Middle English: from Old French reflexion or late Latin reflexio(n-), from Latin reflex- bent back, from the verb reflectere.