from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act of reflecting or the state of being reflected.
  • noun Something, such as light, radiant heat, sound, or an image, that is reflected.
  • noun Serious thinking or careful consideration.
  • noun A thought or an opinion resulting from such thinking or consideration.
  • noun An indirect expression of censure or discredit.
  • noun A manifestation or result.
  • noun The folding of a membrane from the wall of a cavity over an organ and back to the wall.
  • noun The folds so made.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To reflect.
  • noun A bending back; a turning.
  • noun 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.
  • noun That which is produced by being reflected; an image given back from a reflecting surface.
  • noun The act of shining.
  • noun The turning of thought back upon past experiences or ideas; attentive or continued consideration; meditation; contemplation; deliberation: as, a man much given to reflection.
  • noun A mental process resulting from attentive or continued consideration; thought or opinion after deliberation.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun That which corresponds to and reflects something in the mind or in the nature of any one.
  • noun Reproach cast; censure; criticism.
  • noun In anatomy: Duplication; the folding of a part, as a membrane, upon itself; a bending back or complete deflection.
  • noun That which is reflected; a fold: as, a reflection of the peritoneum forming a mesentery.
  • noun In zoology, a play of color which changes in different lights: as, the reflections of the iridescent plumage of a humming-bird.
  • noun Synonyms Rumination, cogitation.
  • noun See remark, n.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The act of reflecting, or turning or sending back, or the state of being reflected.
  • noun The return of rays, beams, sound, or the like, from a surface. See Angle of reflection, below.
  • noun 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.
  • noun obsolete Shining; brightness, as of the sun.
  • noun That which is produced by reflection.
  • noun An image given back from a reflecting surface; a reflected counterpart.
  • noun A part reflected, or turned back, at an angle; as, the reflection of a membrane.
  • noun Result of meditation; thought or opinion after attentive consideration or contemplation; especially, thoughts suggested by truth.
  • noun Censure; reproach cast.
  • noun (Physiol.) 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.
  • noun the angle which anything, as a ray of light, on leaving a reflecting surface, makes with the perpendicular to the surface.
  • noun (Opt.) Same as Critical angle, under Critical.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun the phenomenon of a propagating wave (light or sound) being thrown back from a surface
  • noun (mathematics) a transformation in which the direction of one axis is reversed
  • noun expression without words
  • noun the image of something as reflected by a mirror (or other reflective material)
  • noun a calm, lengthy, intent consideration
  • noun a remark expressing careful consideration


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.


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

    The Code Project Latest Articles disore 2009

  • 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: 2010

  • 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.

    A cynical satirical thriller with a heart 2010

  • 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.

    Narcissus and Me | Her Bad Mother 2007

  • 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.

    James Turrell's Skyspace Offers a Meditation on Light and Time 2009

  • 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 2007

  • 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.

    Amusements in Mathematics Henry Ernest Dudeney 1893

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

    The Life of Blessed Henry Suso by Himself. Heinrich or Suso 1865

  • 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.

    French Word-A-Day: 2009


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  • Those are some interesting tags.

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

    April 19, 2011

  • See love comments

    March 26, 2012

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

    March 27, 2012