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[mir-er] /ˈmɪr ər/
a reflecting surface, originally of polished metal but now usually of glass with a silvery, metallic, or amalgam backing.
such a surface set into a frame, attached to a handle, etc., for use in viewing oneself or as an ornament.
any reflecting surface, as the surface of calm water under certain lighting conditions.
Optics. a surface that is either plane, concave, or convex and that reflects rays of light.
something that gives a minutely faithful representation, image, or idea of something else:
Gershwin's music was a mirror of its time.
a pattern for imitation; exemplar:
a man who was the mirror of fashion.
a glass, crystal, or the like, used by magicians, diviners, etc.
verb (used with object)
to reflect in or as if in a mirror.
to reflect as a mirror does.
to mimic or imitate (something) accurately.
to be or give a faithful representation, image, or idea of:
Her views on politics mirror mine completely.
Music. (of a canon or fugue) capable of being played in retrograde or in inversion, as though read in a mirror placed beside or below the music.
with mirrors, by or as if by magic.
Origin of mirror
1175-1225; Middle English mirour < Old French mireo(u)r, equivalent to mir- (see mirage) + -eo(u)r < Latin -ātor -ator
Related forms
mirrorlike, adjective
unmirrored, adjective
Can be confused
mere, mère, mirror.
6. model, epitome, paradigm. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mirror
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When he looked in the mirror he decided that maybe he was wrong about haircuts.

  • After that she must pin it on, and slip in to stand before his mirror and inspect the result.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • D'Argenson saw, as in a mirror, what was passing in Gaston's mind.

    The Regent's Daughter Alexandre Dumas (Pere)
  • "I feel an awful fool in it," he murmured, glancing at his reflection in the mirror.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • Literature is the mirror in which the soul learns to recognize its own lineaments.

British Dictionary definitions for mirror


a surface, such as polished metal or glass coated with a metal film, that reflects light without diffusion and produces an image of an object placed in front of it
such a reflecting surface mounted in a frame
any reflecting surface
a thing that reflects or depicts something else: the press is a mirror of public opinion
(transitive) to reflect, represent, or depict faithfully: he mirrors his teacher's ideals
Derived Forms
mirror-like, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French from mirer to look at, from Latin mīrārī to wonder at
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
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Word Origin and History for mirror

early 13c., from Old French mireoir "a reflecting glass, looking glass; observation, model, example," earlier miradoir (11c.), from mirer "look at" (oneself in a mirror), "observe, watch, contemplate," from Vulgar Latin *mirare "to look at," variant of Latin mirari "to wonder at, admire" (see miracle). Figurative usage is attested from c.1300. Used in divination since classical and biblical times; mirrors in modern England are the subject of at least 14 known superstitions, according to folklorists. Belief that breaking one brings bad luck is attested from 1777. The Spanish cognate, mirador (from mirar "to look, look at, behold"), has come to mean "watch tower." Mirror ball attested from 1968.


"to reflect," 1590s, from mirror (n.). Related: Mirrored; mirroring. The Middle English verb mirouren (early 15c.) meant "to be a model" (for conduct, behavior, etc.), while miren (mid-14c., from Old French mirer) meant "to look in a mirror."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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mirror in Science
An object that causes light or other radiation to be reflected from its surface, with little or no diffusion. Common mirrors consist of a thin sheet or film of metal, such as silver, behind or covering a glass pane. Mirrors are used extensively in telescopes, microscopes, lasers, fiber optics, measuring instruments, and many other devices. See more at reflection.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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mirror in Technology

1. Writing duplicate data to more than one device (usually two hard disks), in order to protect against loss of data in the event of device failure. This technique may be implemented in either hardware (sharing a disk controller and cables) or in software. It is a common feature of RAID systems.
Several operating systems support software disk mirroring or disk-duplexing, e.g. Novell NetWare.
See also Redundant Array of Independent Disks.
Interestingly, when this technique is used with magnetic tape storage systems, it is usually called "twinning".
A less expensive alternative, which only limits the amount of data loss, is to make regular backups from a single disk to magnetic tape.
2. mirror site.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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