Definition of reflexive in English:

reflexive

adjective

  • 1Grammar
    Denoting a pronoun that refers back to the subject of the clause in which it is used, e.g. myself, themselves.

    • ‘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. 1.1 (of a verb or clause) having a reflexive pronoun as its object (e.g. wash oneself).
      • ‘What should be emphasized here is the use of the reflexive verb - ‘devalue themselves’.’
      • ‘The reflexive verb sich befinden means literally ‘find oneself’.’
      • ‘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’.’
  • 2Logic
    (of a relation) always holding between a term and itself.

    • ‘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.

    • ‘He declares: ‘The theories of social science relate to their subject matter in a reflexive manner.’’
    • ‘It does so by offering a set of methodologically reflexive, culturally nuanced and socially-located studies of gendered knowledges and practices.’
    • ‘In addition, a discursive analysis of conflict invites therapists to be more intentional, reflexive, and socially responsible in their work.’
    • ‘Simply, critical ethnography relies for its own frameworks of analysis and exposition on the reflexive maps and indeed crypto-ethnography of its subjects to a greater degree than ever before.’
    • ‘This has been minimised by making the account as reflexive as possible and by reporting a wide range of different perspectives, a method described by Mays and Pope as ‘fair dealing.’’
    • ‘The question of ‘ethnographic authority’ is paramount in narrative or reflexive ethnography because subjective or interpretive response becomes part of the story.’
    • ‘Indeed, being intentional, reflexive, and socially just requires of us the ability to name the assumptions that guide our practice.’
    • ‘The reflexive interview process that this method entailed is described through case examples.’
    • ‘The ultimate reflexive investigation of investigation occurs in that branch of philosophy known as epistemology, the theory of knowledge.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This reflexive element in my research is of crucial importance and helps me understand the testimony of some of the people I interviewed.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘More recent reflexive research has failed to show that there is any strong and direct causal link between people consuming a message through the media and then having that opinion.’
  • 4(of an action) performed as a reflex, without conscious thought.

    ‘at concerts like this one standing ovations have become reflexive’
    • ‘As both a former ultramarathoner and a biologist, I know this gesture to be reflexive in runners and other competitors who have fought hard and then feel the exhilaration of triumph over adversity.’
    • ‘Instead I respond from moment to moment, surrendering gently to instinct - not as mindless, reflexive action but rather as action rooted in the certainty of knowledge, deep and old.’
    • ‘I jumped at least two feet in the air in a completely involuntary, reflexive response.’
    • ‘Sometimes it's conscious, sometimes reflexive, but the basic trend is not in doubt.’
    • ‘However, in their attempts to render their reflexive understanding adequate to their experience, alienated subjects tend to approach contradictions as if they existed in the world itself.’
    • ‘Characterizing the Reagan administration as ‘eight years of moral darkness’ was reflexive for a Democrat in the early '90s, but it doesn't sound good today.’
    • ‘It doesn't pay to get caught in reflexive habit patterns when you are moving through the complex variables that make up life.’
    • ‘According to neurologists, such reflexive activities are neither conscious nor signs of awareness.’
    • ‘It evokes a reflexive pang of parental solicitude in the reader.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It's not that he doesn't deserve it; despite the reflexive dismissal of too-cool dance music purists, Moby is simply better at what he does than the hordes of hipsters working in the same vein.’
    • ‘They're riven with anti-Americanism, it's soaked to the bone in Canada, and it's often reflexive and knee-jerk.’
    • ‘In the fiddler crab Uca pugilator, limbs that are lost due to injury or predation and as a result of the reflexive autotomy response, can be regenerated completely during a single intermolt cycle.’
    • ‘They are reflexive supporters of the underdog just as the Right reflexively supports the powerful.’
    • ‘Keeping the finger out of the guard during reloads should be reflexive.’
    • ‘But the illusions of the movie's Europeans are a darker matter, for they help create a pervasive, reflexive anti-Americanism that is ultimately extremely dangerous.’
    • ‘Blinded by the brinksmanship and the reflexive opposition of the Cold War era, we failed to see that the Russians, in this peculiar instance, were the forces of civilization and progress.’
    • ‘Murdoch tells Auletta of his contempt for the liberal group-think of Hollywood and its reflexive suspicion of ideas like ‘family values.’’
    • ‘The trick is, of course, to distinguish between subjective criticism of US government policy and reflexive opposition to anything done by the US anywhere at any time.’
    • ‘I'm trying not to think too hard about the reflexive illogic of the last two sentences.’
    instinctive, automatic, mechanical, involuntary, knee-jerk, impulsive, intuitive, spontaneous, unconscious, subliminal, unthinking, unpremeditated, unconditioned, untaught, unlearned, unintentional, unwitting, inadvertent, accidental
    View synonyms

noun

  • A reflexive word or form, especially a pronoun.

    • ‘Most grammarians today are careful not to equate the middle voice with the English reflexive.’
    • ‘Secondly, English is the only Germanic language with few reflexives that are spelled out.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The use of the French reflexive in the present indicative stresses the innate auto-referentiality of Bugul's narrative.’
    • ‘In other languages, reflexives are even less amenable to a two-participant interpretation.’

Pronunciation

reflexive

/rɪˈflɛksɪv/