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refract

Things that refract light — like lenses and prisms — bend it. If you've looked through a water droplet on a car windshield, you've seen water refract light.

You're most likely to come across the verb refract when you're studying physics and the properties of light waves. We come across examples of this everyday, though — when you study a straw in a glass of water, you see the water refract light in a way that makes the straw look bent or jagged. A rainbow also happens when raindrops refract light, breaking it into its component colors. In Latin, refract means "broken up."

Definitions of refract
  1. verb
    subject to refraction
    refract a light beam”
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    type of:
    subject
    cause to experience or suffer or make liable or vulnerable to
  2. verb
    determine the refracting power of (a lens)
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    type of:
    ascertain, determine, find, find out
    establish after a calculation, investigation, experiment, survey, or study
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