verb (used with or without object)
QUIZ YOURSELF ON “THEIR,” “THERE,” AND “THEY’RE”
Origin of deflect
OTHER WORDS FROM deflectde·flect·a·ble, adjectivede·flec·tor, noun
Words nearby deflect
What does deflect mean?
To deflect something is to redirect it—to cause it to move in a direction that’s different from the course it had been on, as in The goalie was able to deflect the ball away from the goal.
Deflect can also be used in a passive way meaning for something to have its course changed, as in The ball deflected after hitting the goalie’s outstretched hand.
Deflect can also be used in a figurative way meaning to do something to avoid questioning or scrutiny, as in When asked about the scandal, the senator deflected by giving a vague answer and changing the subject.
The act or process of deflecting is deflection, which can be used for both the literal and figurative senses of deflect (and more technical uses).
Example: The meteor is headed straight for Earth—our only chance is to deflect it using the space laser!
Where does deflect come from?
The first records of the word deflect come from the mid-1500s. It comes from the Latin dēflectere, “to bend down” or “to turn aside,” from flectere, “to bend” or “to turn” (the same root is used in the word reflect). The prefix de- is used to indicate a reversal or undoing.
The literal sense of deflect is often used in the description of sports action—players deflect balls and pucks to prevent them from entering the goal, the hoop, or another player’s hands. Such deflections are often slight—the ball or puck changes direction only slightly. But deflecting something can sometimes cause it to move in the complete opposite direction, as in The goalie deflected the ball right back at the striker, who then easily kicked it in the goal.
When you deflect questions or a line of inquiry, you dodge or evade it, often by changing the subject. Politicians are especially known for deflecting questions about things they’d rather not talk about. This figurative sense of deflect is often used in a way that implies that such actions are dishonest.
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What are some other forms related to deflect?
- deflection (noun)
- deflector (noun)
- deflectable (adjective)
What are some synonyms for deflect?
What are some words that share a root or word element with deflect?
What are some words that often get used in discussing deflect?
How is deflect used in real life?
Deflect is commonly used in both literal and figurative ways. When used figuratively, it’s usually negative.
GOAL Huddersfield 1-2 Arsenal (90+3 mins)
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 9, 2019
Trump has now repeatedly deflected questions about Russian hacking with responses about speculating about Chinese hacking.
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) January 11, 2017
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) October 24, 2014
Try using deflect!
Which of the following scenarios includes an example of deflecting?
A. John shoots the basketball, but Jane blocks it before it can reach the rim.
B. A rock falls from a dump truck and bounces off a car’s windshield.
C. Justin’s dad asks him if he passed his math test, and Justin responds by asking what’s for dinner.
D. All of the above.
Example sentences from the Web for deflect
It was inevitable, then, that the host would seek to deflect the attention of his viewers to Ocasio-Cortez, hypocrisy notwithstanding.In attacking Ocasio-Cortez, Tucker Carlson maxes out on hypocrisy|Erik Wemple|February 4, 2021|Washington Post
Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara, who was facing his former team, had a scare with 12 seconds remaining in the first period when a puck deflected off his stick and hit him in the face.Alex Ovechkin returns, scores overtime winner as Capitals beat Bruins, 4-3|Samantha Pell|January 31, 2021|Washington Post
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg has sought to deflect blame, noting the role of smaller, right-leaning services such as Parler and Gab.Facebook’s Sandberg deflected blame for Capitol riot, but new evidence shows how platform played role|Elizabeth Dwoskin|January 13, 2021|Washington Post
Eagles’ Doug Pederson deflects tanking criticism in wake of questionable calls in finaleThe Eagles, with the season-ending loss, finished three spots higher in the draft order than they would have landed with a victory.
Or, since he can’t seem to relate to you as anything but his subordinate, she might prefer to step in herself to deflect his requests and intrusions, up to and including pulling him out of your meetings.I’ve been promoted, but my old boss still seems to think I work for him|Karla Miller|January 7, 2021|Washington Post
According to Crawford, Alvarez is “focusing her entire effort publicly on Protess” to deflect attention.Wrongly Imprisoned for 15 Years Thanks to an Innocence Project|Jacob Siegel|November 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Yet, Obama might take some of these military actions anyway just to deflect political pressures at home.
But when I pulled her toward me to comfort her and tell her that I was sorry, she instinctively flexed her muscles to deflect me.
Creationists need a Muslim hero, and American right-wingers need a “good” Muslim with whom to deflect accusations of Islamophobia.The Hedonistic, Possibly Holocaust-Denying Sect That’s Hoodwinking Republican Congressmen|Jay Michaelson|April 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The impulse would have done nothing to deflect a bullet, which would likely have torn through his arm and into him.Thank God the Murrysville School Attack Wasn’t Guns|Michael Daly|April 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Frank managed to deflect the automatic's muzzle from himself.The Planet Strappers|Raymond Zinke Gallun
It was announced with official emphasis that no opposition would deflect the Government from its purpose.The Evolution of Sinn Fein|Robert Mitchell Henry
There is a wellnigh infinite number of influences to deflect us from the safe and certain course.When the Holy Ghost is Come|S. L. Brengle
In order to ascend more quickly the Pilot will deflect the Elevator, which, by the way, you see hinged to the Tail.The Aeroplane Speaks|H. Barber
Lockley knew that sharp points, when charged electrically, make tiny jets of ionized air which will deflect a candle flame.Operation Terror|William Fitzgerald Jenkins