from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A surface capable of reflecting sufficient undiffused light to form an image of an object placed in front of it. Also called looking glass.
  • n. Something that faithfully reflects or gives a true picture of something else.
  • n. Something worthy of imitation.
  • transitive v. To reflect in or as if in a mirror: "The city mirrors many of the greatest moments of Western culture” ( Olivier Bernier).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A smooth surface, usually made of glass with reflective material painted on the underside, that reflects light so as to give an image of what is in front of it.
  • n. an object, person, or event that reflects or gives a picture of another.
  • n. An exact copy of a data set, especially a website.
  • v. Of an event, activity, behaviour, etc, to be identical to, to be a copy of.
  • v. To create something identical to (a web site, etc.).
  • v. To reflect.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A looking-glass or a speculum; any glass or polished substance that forms images by the reflection of rays of light.
  • n. That which gives a true representation, or in which a true image may be seen; hence, a pattern; an exemplar.
  • n. See Speculum.
  • transitive v. To reflect, as in a mirror.
  • transitive v. To copy or duplicate; to mimic or imitate.
  • transitive v. To have a close resemblance to.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To reflect in or as in a mirror.
  • n. A polished surface, as of metal, or of glass backed by a metal or other opaque substance, used to reflect objects, especially to reflect the face or person as an aid in making the toilet.
  • n. Specifically, in optics, a surface of glass or polished substance that forms images by the reflection of rays of light; a speculum.
  • n. Figuratively, that in or by which anything is shown or exemplified; hence, a pattern; an exemplar.
  • n. In architecture, a small oval ornament surrounded by a concave molding; a simple form of cartouche.
  • n. In ornithology, same as speculum.
  • n. A Japanese mirror of cast-metal, which, when made to reflect the sun's rays upon a screen at a proper distance, shows in the reflection bright images which are counterparts of raised figures or characters on the back of the mirror. These, like all Japanese mirrors, are generally circular in form, are about one eighth of an inch thick in the thinnest part, and are usually surrounded on the back by a raised rim. The surface of the mirror is generally slightly convex, and coated with an amalgam of mercury and the metal forming the mirror. The surface is locally modified in its curvature by the characters, either by the shrinkage of the metal in cooling, or by its deformation in the process of amalgamation or of polishing. Only a few of the mirrors which apparently answer to the general description in respect to their construction possess the “magic” property in any great degree.Soemmering's mirror, in microscopy, a plane mirror of polished steel, smaller than the pupil of the eye, placed before the eyepiece of the microscope to be used like the camera lucida in making drawings.
  • n. A glass backed with an amalgam of tin or silver.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. polished surface that forms images by reflecting light
  • v. reflect as if in a mirror
  • v. reflect or resemble
  • n. a faithful depiction or reflection


Middle English mirour, from Old French mireor, from mirer, to look at, from Latin mīrārī, to wonder at, from mīrus, wonderful; see smei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English mirour, from Old French mireor, from mirer, to look at, from Latin mīror ("wonder at"), from mīrus ("wonderful"). (Wiktionary)



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  • They ask (but inwardly; they make no sound)
    The meaning of these mysteries that confound
    Their puzzled ignorance - how is it true
    That 'we' is not distinguished here from 'you'?
    And silently their shining Lord replies:
    'I am a mirror set before your eyes,
    And all who come before my splendor see
    Themselves, their own unique reality;

    - Farid ud-Din Attar, 'The Conference of the Birds', translation by Afkham Darbandi and Dick Davis.

    November 23, 2008