[in-flek-shuh n]


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, in·flex·ion.

Origin of inflection

1525–35; variant spelling of inflexion < Latin inflexiōn- (stem of inflexiō) a bending. See inflect, -ion
Related formsin·flec·tion·less, adjectivepre·in·flec·tion, noun
Can be confusedinfection inflection Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for inflection

Contemporary Examples of inflection

Historical Examples of inflection

  • 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.

  • "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 versaSee also point of inflection
Derived Formsinflectional or inflexional, adjectiveinflectionally or inflexionally, adverbinflectionless or 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

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

inflection in Medicine




An inward bending.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

inflection in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.