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verb (used with object)
  1. to modulate (the voice).
  2. Grammar.
    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.
  3. to bend; turn from a direct line or course.
  4. Botany. to bend in.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Grammar. to be characterized by inflection.
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Origin of inflect

1375–1425; late Middle English inflecten < Latin inflectere to bend in, equivalent to in- in-2 + flectere to bend, curve; cf. flex1
Related formsin·flect·ed·ness, nounin·flec·tive, adjectivein·flec·tor, nounnon·in·flect·ed, adjectiveun·in·flect·ed, adjectiveun·in·flec·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for inflected


  1. (grammar) to change (the form of a word) or (of a word) to change in form by inflection
  2. (tr) to change (the voice) in tone or pitch; modulate
  3. (tr) to cause to deviate from a straight or normal line or course; bend
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Derived Formsinflectedness, nouninflective, adjectiveinflector, 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

Word Origin and History for inflected



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper