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reflect (up)on (something)
1. Literally, to be displayed as a duplicate light or image on something. Technically, moonlight is just sunlight that bounces off the moon and is reflected on the Earth. Though his back was to me, I could see his worried face reflected on the small pool of water.
2. To consider or think back on something with close or careful attention. Stuck in bed with a broken leg, all I could do was reflect on the accident that put me there. After coming to terms with not getting the promotion, Janet reflected upon her boss's criticism and vowed to improve her work.
See also: reflect
reflect on (someone something)
To stand as evidence of someone's or something's qualities or merits. The principal seems more concerned that the incident will reflect poorly on the school, as opposed to whether anyone was hurt. Your poise under pressure really reflects on your ability as a leader.
reflect (back) (up)on someone or something
to remember or think about someone or something. (Upon is formal and less commonly used than on.) When I reflect back on the years I spent with my parents, I think I had a good childhood. I like to reflect on my great-grandmother.
1. Consider or think carefully about, as in She reflected on her country's role in history. [c. 1600] A closely related phrase is on due reflection, meaning "after careful consideration." For example, On due reflection I decided to vote for the incumbent.
2. reflect on one. Give evidence of one's qualities, as in The hasty preparation of this report will reflect on you. [Second half of 1600s]
reflect onor reflect upon
1. To think carefully about something: He sat in the garden and reflected on what he had just read.
2. To express carefully considered thoughts about something: In the essay, she reflects on her long career and offers advice for young writers.
3. To give evidence of the characteristics or qualities of someone or something: The student's performance reflects well on the whole school. Hasty preparation of the report will reflect badly on you.
4. To appear as a reflected image on some surface: The trees are reflecting on the water.
5. To cause something to appear as a reflected image on some surface: The window reflected wavy lines on the floor.