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reflection

[ri-flek-shuhn]
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noun
  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.
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Also especially British, re·flex·ion.

Origin of reflection

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin reflexiōn- (stem of reflexiō) a bending back, equivalent to Latin reflex(us) (see reflex) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsre·flec·tion·al, adjectivere·flec·tion·less, adjectivein·ter·re·flec·tion, nounnon·re·flec·tion, nouno·ver·re·flec·tion, nounself-re·flec·tion, nounsu·per·re·flec·tion, noun
Can be confuseddiffraction diffusion reflection rarefaction refraction

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

impressioncontemplationobservationidearuminationopinionconsiderationmeditationviewpicturelightimageechocerebrationdeliberationabsorptionstudyimaginationmusingspeculation

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British Dictionary definitions for reflection

reflection

less commonly reflexion

noun
  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
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Derived Formsreflectional or reflexional, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for reflection

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

reflection in Medicine

reflection

(rĭ-flĕkshən)
n.
  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.
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Related formsre•flection•al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

reflection in Science

reflection

[rĭ-flĕkshən]
  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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

reflection in Culture

reflection

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

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.