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[in-flekt] /ɪnˈflɛkt/
verb (used with object)
to modulate (the voice).
  1. to apply inflection to (a word).
  2. to recite or display all or a distinct set of the inflections of (a word); decline or conjugate.
to bend; turn from a direct line or course.
Botany. to bend in.
verb (used without object)
Grammar. to be characterized by inflection.
Origin of inflect
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English inflecten < Latin inflectere to bend in, equivalent to in- in-2 + flectere to bend, curve; cf. flex1
Related forms
inflectedness, noun
inflective, adjective
inflector, noun
noninflected, adjective
uninflected, adjective
uninflective, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inflect
Historical Examples
  • Now it would have been absurd to inflect a long English lesson.

    Rites and Ritual Philip Freeman
  • Can you so inflect "sprawling in want" and "sitting high" as to suggest a swamp and a mountain-top, or a frog and an angel?

    Vocal Expression

    Katherine Jewell Everts
  • (e) To memorize words and to learn to inflect them, before memorizing and learning how to construct sentences.

  • And we yet retain an objective case of the pronoun, and inflect it for person, number and gender.

    The American Language Henry L. Mencken
British Dictionary definitions for inflect


(grammar) to change (the form of a word) or (of a word) to change in form by inflection
(transitive) to change (the voice) in tone or pitch; modulate
(transitive) to cause to deviate from a straight or normal line or course; bend
Derived Forms
inflectedness, noun
inflective, adjective
inflector, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin inflectere to curve round, alter, from flectere to bend
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 inflect

early 15c., "to bend inward," from Latin inflectere (past participle inflexus) "to bend in, bow, curve," figuratively, "to change," from in- "in" (see in- (1)) + flectere "to bend" (see flexible). Grammatical sense is attested 1660s; pronunciation sense (in inflection) is c.1600. Related: Inflected; inflecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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