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

  • n. The act of reflecting or the state of being reflected.
  • n. Something, such as light, radiant heat, sound, or an image, that is reflected.
  • n. Mental concentration; careful consideration.
  • n. A thought or an opinion resulting from such consideration.
  • n. An indirect expression of censure or discredit: a reflection on his integrity.
  • n. A manifestation or result: Her achievements are a reflection of her courage.
  • n. Anatomy The folding of a membrane from the wall of a cavity over an organ and back to the wall.
  • n. Anatomy The folds so made.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of reflecting or the state of being reflected.
  • n. The property of a propagated wave being thrown back from a surface (such as a mirror).
  • n. Something, such as an image, that is reflected.
  • n. Careful thought or consideration.
  • n. An implied criticism.
  • n. The process or mechanism of determining the capabilities of an object at run-time.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. The act of reflecting, or turning or sending back, or the state of being reflected.
  • n. The return of rays, beams, sound, or the like, from a surface. See Angle of reflection, below.
  • n. The reverting of the mind to that which has already occupied it; continued consideration; meditation; contemplation; hence, also, that operation or power of the mind by which it is conscious of its own acts or states; the capacity for judging rationally, especially in view of a moral rule or standard.
  • n. Shining; brightness, as of the sun.
  • n. That which is produced by reflection.
  • n. An image given back from a reflecting surface; a reflected counterpart.
  • n. A part reflected, or turned back, at an angle; as, the reflection of a membrane.
  • n. Result of meditation; thought or opinion after attentive consideration or contemplation; especially, thoughts suggested by truth.
  • n. Censure; reproach cast.
  • n. The transference of an excitement from one nerve fiber to another by means of the nerve cells, as in reflex action. See Reflex action, under Reflex.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To reflect.
  • n. A bending back; a turning.
  • n. The act of reflecting, or the state of being reflected; specifically, in physics, the change of direction which a ray of light, radiant heat, or sound experiences when it strikes upon a surface and is thrown back into the same medium from which it approached.
  • n. That which is produced by being reflected; an image given back from a reflecting surface.
  • n. The act of shining.
  • n. The turning of thought back upon past experiences or ideas; attentive or continued consideration; meditation; contemplation; deliberation: as, a man much given to reflection.
  • n. A mental process resulting from attentive or continued consideration; thought or opinion after deliberation.
  • n. A kind of self-consciousness resulting from an outward perception, whether directly or indirectly; the exercise of the internal sense; the perception of a modification of consciousness; the faculty of distinguishing between a datum of sense and a product of reason; the consideration of the limitations of knowledge, ignorance, and error, and of other unsatisfactory states as leading to knowledge of self; the discrimination between the subjective and objective aspects of feelings.
  • n. Reid endeavored to revive the Ramist use of the word, for which he is condemned by Hamilton. Kant, in his use of the term, returns to something like the Thomist view, for he makes it a mode of consciousness by which we are made aware whether knowledge is sensuous or not. Kant makes use of the term reflection to denote a mode of consciousness in which we distinguish between the relations of concepts and the corresponding relations of the objects of the concepts. Thus, two concepts may be different, and yet it may be conceived that their objects are identical; or two concepts may be identical, and yet it may be conceived that their objects (say, two drops of water) are different, Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, in his “Philosophy of Reflection,” 1878, uses the term to denote one of three fundamental modes of consciousness, namely that in which the objective and subjective aspects of what is present are discriminated without being separated as person and thing.
  • n. That which corresponds to and reflects something in the mind or in the nature of any one.
  • n. Reproach cast; censure; criticism.
  • n. In anatomy: Duplication; the folding of a part, as a membrane, upon itself; a bending back or complete deflection.
  • n. That which is reflected; a fold: as, a reflection of the peritoneum forming a mesentery.
  • n. In zoology, a play of color which changes in different lights: as, the reflections of the iridescent plumage of a humming-bird.
  • n. Synonyms Rumination, cogitation.
  • n. See remark, n.

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

  • n. the phenomenon of a propagating wave (light or sound) being thrown back from a surface
  • n. (mathematics) a transformation in which the direction of one axis is reversed
  • n. expression without words
  • n. the image of something as reflected by a mirror (or other reflective material)
  • n. a calm, lengthy, intent consideration
  • n. a remark expressing careful consideration
  • n. a likeness in which left and right are reversed
  • n. the ability to reflect beams or rays


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French reflexion, reflection, and its source Late Latin reflexio, from the participle stem of reflectere. The current spelling is influenced by reflect.


  • Perhaps we are using the term reflection in two different ways here.

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  • In a movie a reflection is as real and solid as the actual image the faces and bodies reflected, because the opposite is true, the images are as transient and ephemeral and insubstantial as the reflections.

    Lance Mannion:

  • In almost all versions gazing eternally into the pool at his reflection is his curse or punishment from the gods for spurning the love of others or leaving them in the painful state of unrequited love.

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  • In his last period, the year before his death, Dubuffet produced an astounding 210 Non-lieux paintings, which he described as a reflection of his nihilistic philosophy.

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  • Thirdly, Because these very operations of the mind about ideas received from sensations, are themselves, when reflected on, another set of ideas, derived from that other source of our knowledge, which I call reflection; and therefore fit to be considered in this place after the simple ideas of sensation.

    An Essay Concerning Human Understanding

  • In order that there may be no misunderstanding, I will explain that although B is what we call a reflection of A, these would count as two different arrangements, while C, if it is turned round, will give four arrangements; and if turned round in front of a mirror, four other arrangements.

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  • And this mode of gaining knowledge we term reflection (speculiren).

    The Life of Blessed Henry Suso by Himself.

  • No one lives in a vacuum, and I'd say this kind of reflection is very important.

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  • This reflection is sometimes followed by a shiver of distaste.

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  • But beyond that crazy there was reflection, and reflection is good, right?

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  • Reflection no longer becomes me, has no place alongside love. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    March 27, 2012

  • See love comments

    March 26, 2012

  • Those are some interesting tags.

    P.S. I'll bet CD's missing quotation about Locke is a whopper.

    April 19, 2011