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[ri-frak-tiv] /rɪˈfræk tɪv/
of or relating to refraction.
Also, refractile. having power to refract.
Origin of refractive
1665-75; < Late Latin refrāctīvus (of pronouns) reflexive. See refract, -ive
Related forms
refractively, adverb
refractiveness, noun
nonrefractive, adjective
nonrefractively, adverb
nonrefractiveness, noun
unrefractive, adjective
unrefractively, adverb
unrefractiveness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for refractive
  • The refractive power of the eye's corneal surface, a key to clear vision, is greatly reduced underwater.
  • That's probably because aragonite has two refractive indices, the extent to which a particular material focuses incoming light.
  • They studied a material with a low refractive index bordered by a layer with a high refractive index.
  • Most optical fibers have a core of pure silica and a cladding layer that is doped with ions to change its refractive index.
  • The layers have different refractive indices, and incoming light waves are bent and reflected at each interface.
  • There's a mismatch between the refractive index of water and air.
  • Some may specialize in the rehabilitation of post-refractive surgeries.
  • Reflective and refractive ridges direct the light outwards.
  • Each cell type has a unique diffraction signature that depends on its size, shape, and an optical quality called refractive index.
  • But cancers may have different refractive properties.
British Dictionary definitions for refractive


of or concerned with refraction
(of a material or substance) capable of causing refraction
Derived Forms
refractively, adverb
refractiveness, 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
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Word Origin and History for refractive

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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