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[in-flek-shuh n] /ɪnˈflɛk ʃən/
modulation of the voice; change in pitch or tone of voice.
Also, flection. Grammar.
  1. the process or device of adding affixes to or changing the shape of a base to give it a different syntactic function without changing its form class.
  2. the paradigm of a word.
  3. a single pattern of formation of a paradigm:
    noun inflection; verb inflection.
  4. the change in the shape of a word, generally by affixation, by means of which a change of meaning or relationship to some other word or group of words is indicated.
  5. the affix added to produce this change, as the -s in dogs or the -ed in played.
  6. the systematic description of such processes in a given language, as in serves from serve, sings from sing, and harder from hard (contrasted with derivation).
a bend or angle.
Mathematics. a change of curvature from convex to concave or vice versa.
Also, especially British, inflexion.
Origin of inflection
1525-35; variant spelling of inflexion < Latin inflexiōn- (stem of inflexiō) a bending. See inflect, -ion
Related forms
inflectionless, adjective
preinflection, noun
Can be confused
infection, inflection. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for inflection
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Somehow, the inflection on the last word did not altogether suggest the ingenuous.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • The forger repeated the words with an inflection that was gloating.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • I must have imagined the pause, the inflection; but he has me under surveillance.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • "Yes, you will," Adams returned, not noticing that his son's inflection was satiric.

    Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
  • He spoke in a deep bass rumble, without emotion or inflection.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
British Dictionary definitions for inflection


modulation of the voice
(grammar) a change in the form of a word, usually modification or affixation, signalling change in such grammatical functions as tense, voice, mood, person, gender, number, or case
an angle or bend
the act of inflecting or the state of being inflected
(maths) a change in curvature from concave to convex or vice versa See also point of inflection
Derived Forms
inflectional, inflexional, adjective
inflectionally, inflexionally, adverb
inflectionless, inflexionless, adjective
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 inflection

early 15c., from Middle French inflexion and directly from Latin inflexionem (nominative inflexio) "a bending, inflection, modification," noun of action from past participle stem of inflectere (see inflect). For spelling, see connection. Grammatical sense is from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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inflection in Medicine

inflection in·flec·tion (ĭn-flěk'shən)
An inward bending.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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inflection in Culture

inflection definition

A change in the form of a word to reflect different grammatical functions of the word in a sentence. English has lost most of its inflections. Those that remain are chiefly possessive ('s), as in “the boy's hat”; plural (-s), as in “the three girls”; and past tense (-d or -ed), as in cared. Other inflections are found in pronouns — as in he, him, his — and in irregular words such as think/thought, child/children, and mouse/mice.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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