1. the act of reflecting, as in casting back a light or heat, mirroring, or giving back or showing an image; the state of being reflected in this way.
  2. an image; representation; counterpart.
  3. a fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
  4. a thought occurring in consideration or meditation.
  5. an unfavorable remark or observation.
  6. the casting of some imputation or reproach.
  7. Physics, Optics.
    1. the return of light, heat, sound, etc., after striking a surface.
    2. something so reflected, as heat or especially light.
  8. Mathematics.
    1. (in a plane) the replacement of each point on one side of a line by the point symmetrically placed on the other side of the line.
    2. (in space) the replacement of each point on one side of a plane by the symmetric point on the other side of the plane.
  9. Anatomy. the bending or folding back of a part upon itself.


  1. the act of reflecting or the state of being reflected
  2. something reflected or the image so produced, as by a mirror
  3. careful or long consideration or thought
  4. implicit or explicit attribution of discredit or blame
  5. maths a transformation in which the direction of one axis is reversed or which changes the sign of one of the variables
  6. anatomy the bending back of a structure or part upon itself

late 14c., reflexion, in reference to surfaces throwing back light or heat, from Late Latin reflexionem (nominative reflexio) “a reflection,” literally “a bending back,” noun of action from past participle stem of Latin reflectere “to bend back, bend backwards, turn away,” from re- “back” (see re-) + flectere “to bend” (see flexible). Of the mind, from 1670s. Meaning “remark made after turning back one’s thought on some subject” is from 1640s. Spelling with -ct- recorded from late 14c., established 18c., by influence of the verb.


  1. The act of reflecting or the state of being reflected.
  2. Something, such as light, radiant heat, sound, or an image, that is reflected.
  3. The folding of a membrane from the wall of a cavity over an organ and back to the wall.
  4. The folds so made.
  5. Mental concentration; careful consideration.
  6. A thought or an opinion resulting from such consideration.

  1. The change in direction of a wave, such as a light or sound wave, away from a boundary the wave encounters. Reflected waves remain in their original medium rather than entering the medium they encounter.♦ According to the law of reflection, the angle of reflection of a reflected wave is equal to its angle of incidence. Compare refraction. See more at wave.
  2. Something, such as sound, light, or heat, that is reflected.

A bouncing of light off a surface. People see themselves in mirrors through reflection. (Compare refraction.)

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