• synonyms


  1. of or relating to refraction.
  2. Also refractile. having power to refract.
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Origin of refractive

First recorded in 1665–75, refractive is from the Late Latin word refrāctīvus (of pronouns) reflexive. See refract, -ive
Related formsre·frac·tive·ly, adverbre·frac·tive·ness, nounnon·re·frac·tive, adjectivenon·re·frac·tive·ly, adverbnon·re·frac·tive·ness, nounun·re·frac·tive, adjectiveun·re·frac·tive·ly, adverbun·re·frac·tive·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for refractive

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for refractive


  1. of or concerned with refraction
  2. (of a material or substance) capable of causing refraction
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Derived Formsrefractively, adverbrefractiveness or refractivity (ˌriːfrækˈtɪvɪtɪ), noun
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 refractive


1670s, from Late Latin refractivus, or from refract + -ive.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper