Reflection Re*flec"tion (r?*fl?k"sh?n), n. [L. reflexio: cf. F. r['e]flexion. See {Riflect}.] [Written also {reflexion}.] 1. The act of reflecting, or turning or sending back, or the state of being reflected. Specifically: (a) The return of rays, beams, sound, or the like, from a surface. See {Angle of reflection}, below. [1913 Webster]

The eye sees not itself, But by reflection, by some other things. --Shak. [1913 Webster] (b) 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. [1913 Webster]

By reflection, . . . I would be understood to mean, that notice which the mind takes of its own operations, and the manner of them, by reason whereof there come to be ideas of these operations in the understanding. --Locke. [1913 Webster]

This delight grows and improves under thought and reflection. --South. [1913 Webster]

2. Shining; brightness, as of the sun. [Obs.] --Shak. [1913 Webster]

3. That which is produced by reflection. Specifically: (a) An image given back from a reflecting surface; a reflected counterpart. [1913 Webster]

As the sun water we can bear, Yet not the sun, but his reflection, there. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] (b) A part reflected, or turned back, at an angle; as, the reflection of a membrane. (c) Result of meditation; thought or opinion after attentive consideration or contemplation; especially, thoughts suggested by truth. [1913 Webster]

Job's reflections on his once flourishing estate did at the same time afflict and encourage him. --Atterbury. [1913 Webster]

4. Censure; reproach cast. [1913 Webster]

He died; and oh! may no reflection shed Its poisonous venom on the royal dead. --Prior. [1913 Webster]

5. (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}. [1913 Webster]

{Angle of reflection}, the angle which anything, as a ray of light, on leaving a reflecting surface, makes with the perpendicular to the surface.

{Angle of total reflection}. (Opt.) Same as {Critical angle}, under {Critical}. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Meditation; contemplation; rumination; cogitation; consideration; musing; thinking. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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  • reflection — is now the dominant form, although reflexion is the older …   Modern English usage

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