[ in-flek-shuhn ]
/ ɪnˈflɛk ʃən /
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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.



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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


in·flec·tion·less, adjectivepre·in·flec·tion, noun


infection, inflection
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use inflection in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for inflection



/ (ɪnˈflɛkʃən) /


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 forms of inflection

inflectional 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

Medical definitions for inflection

[ ĭn-flĕkshən ]


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

Cultural definitions for inflection


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.