Definition of reflect in US English:



  • 1with 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’
    ‘his eyes gleamed in the reflected light’
    • ‘Other sunbeams are reflected from the top surface of the oil film.’
    • ‘Older skin has a rougher surface, which doesn't reflect the light, giving it a much duller appearance.’
    • ‘So the polluted clouds were reflecting more light back into space, preventing the heat of the sun from getting through.’
    • ‘The colour of a pigment is dictated by the way it absorbs certain parts of the spectrum that make up visible light and reflects others.’
    • ‘Reflectance, on the other hand, is determined by how much of the surface is reflecting the light.’
    • ‘The coins glimmered in my palm, dully reflecting the dim light cast by the streetlamp overhead.’
    • ‘Venetian blinds, although not as effective as draperies, can be adjusted to let in some light and air while reflecting the sun's heat.’
    • ‘Natural and artificial light is reflected from the polished and honed surfaces of the stone clad interior.’
    • ‘Light streamed in, not from the windows on the wall, but from mirrors reflecting sunlight off the roof.’
    • ‘He showed that these waves travelled at the speed of light and, like light, could be reflected and refracted.’
    • ‘Straight lines are solar radiation, partly reflected back to space by dust and aerosols.’
    • ‘He is also wearing glasses that in the mirror reflect light so it appears that he cannot see his eyes.’
    • ‘Pavement reflects or absorbs heat, depending on whether it is light or dark in color.’
    • ‘The less ice there is, the less sunlight is reflected back into space.’
    • ‘The theory behind it is a black tray absorbs reflected light better than a standard beige or white tray.’
    • ‘In my own garden I have an old stone wall with remnants of whitewash that reflects the sunlight and heat in summer.’
    • ‘White reflects all wavelengths evenly, but a blue surface reflects only blue and absorbs red and green.’
    • ‘The lightness or darkness of a color affects whether it can absorb or reflect heat and light.’
    • ‘Light falling on the water surface is either reflected or refracted towards the pool floor.’
    • ‘However, there is a way to avoid an echo, the problem is that it depends on your distance from the object reflecting the sound, and not the type of sound itself.’
    send back, throw back, cast back, give back, bounce back, shine back, return, mirror
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    1. 1.1 (of a mirror or shiny surface) show an image of.
      ‘he could see himself reflected in Keith's mirrored glasses’
      • ‘Good art is a kind of emotional funhouse mirror that reflects yourself and your feelings in all kinds of new and exciting ways.’
      • ‘There are so many of me because the mirrors are reflecting both the original me and the reflections of me, if that makes sense.’
      • ‘She looked into her mirror and it reflected the same exact image she saw in those crimson eyes.’
      • ‘Through another doorway I can see a mirror which is reflecting a predominately red painting of a village on the opposite wall, out of sight.’
      • ‘Finally, it has been suggested by Wilenski and others that Vermeer might have traced over images reflected in mirrors.’
      • ‘Your identity is formed by your friends and family and acquaintances: they act like a mirror, reflecting your image of yourself back at you.’
      • ‘For miles, as far as the eye could see, the surface of the big loch was like a mirror, reflecting images of mountains and wooded slopes.’
      • ‘He had painted himself from his image reflected in a mirror, which reversed right and left.’
      • ‘All the viewer sees when standing in front of the work is the mirrors reflecting one another - or a blind spot.’
      • ‘From its opening shot of a wing mirror reflecting New York taxis shimmering in the night, the film has many moments of visual artistry.’
      • ‘An opening in the wall behind the bed that appears at first to be a window with a view of the sky turns out to be a mirror reflecting a window on the opposite side of the room, outside the frame.’
      • ‘On the dressing table three rectangular mirrors reflected greyness from the garden.’
      • ‘She managed to go a few steps further before she saw the bathroom mirror reflecting what was in it.’
      • ‘The mirror reflects the scene before us and two shadowy figures that have just entered the room.’
      • ‘The former sees the text as a window into the development of the tradition, and the latter sees the text as a mirror reflecting its own narrative world.’
      • ‘It was a clear night, the stars shone brightly over the river, and the city lights were reflected in a spectrum of colored points in the water.’
      • ‘There is also a light box with a photo of King's bruised face which turns into a mirror reflecting the viewer's face.’
      • ‘Within seconds, the few whirling ripples had smoothed back into an undisturbed mirror surface, reflecting the dark blue of the fading evening sky.’
      • ‘Every speck of glitter is a tiny mirror reflecting the observer.’
      • ‘The oval mirror reflects me sitting on the bed, framed by the intricate lace of the curtains.’
      send back, throw back, cast back, give back, bounce back, shine back, return, mirror
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    2. 1.2 Embody or represent (something) in a faithful or appropriate way.
      ‘schools should reflect cultural differences’
      ‘stocks are priced at a level that reflects a company's prospects’
      • ‘Human nature is greedy, devious and sleazy, and most salacious tabloid stories are merely reflecting that fact.’
      • ‘First, how do we know the leaks accurately reflected what Malvo told the police?’
      • ‘An amount could, therefore, be agreed at the outset to reflect the appropriate rate for the period.’
      • ‘Maternal perceptions are important, but do not necessarily reflect family realities.’
      • ‘The inflation rate would more accurately reflect what's actually happening on the ground.’
      • ‘In that sense, Daniel Cohen's intricate study simply reflects that reality.’
      • ‘Suffice to say, his language does not always reflect underlying reality.’
      • ‘Lydia was a lady now and would have to wear the appropriate clothing to reflect her new status.’
      • ‘Sadly, Ron Atkinson's racist comments merely reflect attitudes that still dog professional football.’
      • ‘Yet, these changes do not always simply reflect changes in firm boundaries.’
      • ‘The share price, down 37 % over the past 12 months, reflects growing pessimism.’
      • ‘The statistics reflect a continuing downward trend in overall crime rates during the past three years.’
      • ‘Scriabin's youthful compositions reflect to a large degree the influence of Chopin.’
      • ‘Technically, both films reflect the customary unspectacular competence associated with Hallmark productions.’
      • ‘The poll also reflects increasing confidence in the economy's performance over the coming months.’
      • ‘The survey results reflect this trend, as does the current industry research.’
      • ‘First, size changes do not necessarily reflect permanent changes in the environmental conditions experienced by an individual.’
      • ‘So I've now changed the message to more accurately reflect what has happened.’
      • ‘Fortunately, today's Radio 1 is a much more diverse place, better reflecting the cultural choices available in the UK.’
      • ‘The differing views reflected differing policies, Rubin suggested.’
      indicate, show, display, demonstrate, be evidence of, register, reveal, betray, evince, disclose, exhibit, manifest
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    3. 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yet of all the ways in which to lose, few could have reflected more credit on either side.’
      • ‘Leeds did manage to stage a late rally, which reflected huge credit on their fighting qualities.’
    4. 1.4reflect well/badly onno object Bring about a good or bad impression of.
      ‘the incident reflects badly on the operating practices of the airlines’
      • ‘Southend Chief Supt Mick Thwaites said: ‘Violent crime in Southend is below the national average, which for a town like this reflects well on the work of the police, council, licensed trade and taxi drivers.’’
      • ‘This is a story that reflects well on all involved - we extend our sincere congratulations.’
      • ‘It certainly doesn't reflect well on what we are trying to achieve.’
      • ‘It reflects well on the pub and the people who work here.’
      • ‘In a trial, evidence of the events in question may reflect badly on one or more of the parties and arguably in such a way as to affect their credibility as witnesses.’
      • ‘It reflects well on the whole team from the governors and teachers to the learning assistants and the pupils.’
      • ‘‘This reflects well on the overall strategy we have put forward over the past decade which has transformed our economy,’ Minister Martin said.’
      • ‘That Beijing should see Australia as a strategic partner in the region helps immensely in achieving that objective, and reflects well on the enormous effort the Howard Government has put into its relationship with China.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unfortunately incidents like this one last month are commonplace and reflect badly on all involved in providing a train service.’
      • ‘Both books have been very well received, which is delightful for their author, Malcolm Gladwell, and reflects well on the magazine that employs him, the New Yorker.’
      • ‘If a horse that I own competes successfully, that in part reflects well on all the work that I have put in preparing that horse.’
      • ‘Unfortunately you are associated with a Prime Minister whose moral code reflects badly on all the members of his government.’
      • ‘Dr Sandy Ferguson, by now the club doctor, believed the crisis reflected well on no one.’
      • ‘Liberal Democrat leader Steve Galloway said: ‘The fact that David has been offered such a significant national job reflects well on him and the council.’’
      • ‘I do not think that that comment reflects well on either that member or her party.’
      • ‘He said: ‘The successful conclusion of this ambitious project reflects well on all concerned.’’
      • ‘The famine, the statement concluded, reflects badly on how the UN conducts its business.’
      • ‘The sight of paint flaking off a historic work of art, literally crumbling off in lumps is a disgrace and will reflect badly on us in years to come.’
      • ‘It is another piece of senseless political vandalism, which reflects badly on all concerned and undermines the Scottish parliament.’
      discredit, do discredit to, be a discredit to, disgrace, shame, put in a bad light, damage, blemish the reputation of, damage the reputation of, tarnish the reputation of, give a bad name to, bring into disrepute, become a blot of the escutcheon of, become a stain of the escutcheon of, detract from
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  • 2reflect on/uponno object 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’
    • ‘Each guest gets to take an ornament off the tree, carefully wrap it in tissue and reflect on the year that's ending and the one to come.’
    • ‘Soon, very soon, it will all be a memory, just something in the past to reflect upon and talk about - or maybe just forget.’
    • ‘I sincerely hope this man will reflect on my response and consider his action in the event of a similar occurrence.’
    • ‘We have directed our students to reflect on their experiences in collaborative groups.’
    • ‘Anyone who carefully reflects on the merit of this legislation will see that it is hugely flawed.’
    • ‘Dr Hope said he would read the petitioners' letter carefully and would need to reflect on their point of view.’
    • ‘I hope those who meet to consider York's future next month reflect on this salutary tale.’
    • ‘It offers a chance to reflect upon the year's achievements and consider the challenges ahead.’
    • ‘It is relevant to reflect just for a moment on what our history of law reporting in New Zealand has been.’
    • ‘Weitzel's texts often reflect upon contemporary art practice and the artist's place in society.’
    • ‘People have the power to contemplate and reflect upon infinity and eternity, concepts which are totally beyond the realm of the physical world.’
    • ‘The Government has to reflect on that and consider what to do next and how to take things forward.’
    • ‘Looking around the room and reflecting on the day, I remembered a conversation I had with one of my cohorts.’
    • ‘Lindsey spent the night walking around and reflecting on all the good and bad that occurred in her life.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘At the end of the intervention, they must reflect on the learning experience.’
    • ‘It is relevant to reflect for a moment on what, exactly, diplomatic immunity is.’
    • ‘Let's reflect for a moment on how well the current policy has been working.’
    • ‘But we should reflect for a moment upon what, exactly, is happening here.’
    think about, give thought to, consider, give consideration to, review, mull over, contemplate, study, cogitate about, cogitate on, meditate on, muse on, deliberate about, deliberate on, ruminate about, ruminate on, ruminate over, dwell on, brood on, brood 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
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    1. 2.1archaic Make disparaging remarks about.


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