Definition:Non-reflexive Relation

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Let $\mathcal R \subseteq S \times S$ be a relation in $S$.

$\mathcal R$ is non-reflexive if and only if it is neither reflexive nor antireflexive.


An example of a non-reflexive relation:

Let $S = \set {a, b}, \mathcal R = \set {\paren {a, a} }$.


$\mathcal R$ is not reflexive, because $\paren {b, b} \notin \mathcal R$.
$\mathcal R$ is not antireflexive, because $\paren {a, a} \in \mathcal R$.

So being neither one thing nor the other, it must be non-reflexive.

Also known as

Some sources use the term irreflexive.

However, as irreflexive is also found in other sources to mean antireflexive, it is better to use the clumsier, but less ambiguous, non-reflexive.


Arbitrary Non-reflexive Relation

Let $V_1 = \set {y, z}$.

Let $S$ be the relation on $V_1$ defined as:

$S = \set {\tuple {y, y}, \tuple {y, z} }$

Then $S$ is neither:

a reflexive relation, as $\tuple {z, z} \notin S$


an antireflexive relation, as $\tuple {y, y} \in S$

Thus $S$ is a non-reflexive relation.

Also see

  • Results about reflexivity of relations can be found here.