Definition of inflect in English:

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Pronunciation: /inˈflekt/


[with object]
1 Grammar Change the form of (a word) to express a particular grammatical function or attribute, typically tense, mood, person, number, case, and gender.
Example sentences
  • By contrast, the final verb is not marked for switch-reference but is fully inflected for such categories, and this inflection is relevant to the whole clause chain.
  • A mantra is a kind of prayer that contains the name of God that is inflected grammatically in the dative case.
  • There are two present-tense verbs here, both inflected for plural agreement.
1.1 [no object] (Of a word or a language containing such words) undergo inflection.
Example sentences
  • Chinese is monosyllabic, Japanese is polysyllabic; Japanese verbs, adjectives and adverbs inflect, whereas they don't in Chinese; and Japanese has a system of postpositions that Chinese doesn't.
  • We listed a few words that we claimed were just exceptions to the claim that monosyllabic adjectives inflect, and we included wrong on that list.
  • Languages can be classified into one of three types: isolating or noninflective, agglutinating, and inflecting.
2Vary the intonation or pitch of (the voice), especially to express mood or feeling.
Example sentences
  • ‘Odd seeing Mr. Van Doren here,’ Ronald says, his deep voice inflected with curiosity.
  • One thing that on-line communication doesn't give is a sense of how people's voices inflect what they say with particular meanings that you don't always pick up when someone is writing.
  • The postcingulum has a similar, but reversed pattern: it leaves the hypocone posteriorly, swings labially, is inflected sharply anterolabially, and ends at the posterior spur lingual to the intermediate row of cusps.
2.1Influence or color (music or writing) in tone or style.
Example sentences
  • The word professional is almost always negatively inflected for Woolf, whether it denotes the academic credentials that were historically denied to women or an excessive emphasis on public perception and financial success.
  • That is, the approach I have described as Curtin's might be inflected by American practices, such as those at Iowa.
  • But I believe the historical conjunction that gave rise to accountability continues to inflect and propel it.
2.2Vary the pitch of (a musical note).
Example sentences
  • As the patterns of notes or letters are inflected, moments of fulfillment or stability are perceived.
  • Taking a whirlwind tempo, as he did, is one thing; but failing to inflect the smaller motivic units that comprise it is quite another.
  • But even performers who ‘adhere to the score’ greatly inflect their readings by personal, pianistic, musical and emotional modifications.
3 technical Bend or deflect (something), especially inward.
Example sentences
  • Each milieu affects the space, bends it, inflects it, shapes it.
  • The angular process of the dentary is inflected medially in almost all marsupials.
  • Working by consensus decision making, the group generated a design that splays in both plan and section, inflecting the structure outward while focusing inward to the place of ceremony.



Pronunciation: /inˈflektiv/
Example sentences
  • He has a majestic voice that is supple and inflective while still being just a bit gritty.


Late Middle English (sense 3): from Latin inflectere, from in- 'into' + flectere 'to bend'.

Words that rhyme with inflect

affect, bisect, bull-necked, collect, confect, connect, correct, defect, deflect, deject, detect, direct, effect, eject, elect, erect, expect, infect, inject, inspect, interconnect, interject, intersect, misdirect, neglect, object, perfect, project, prospect, protect, reflect, reject, respect, resurrect, sect, select, subject, suspect, transect, unchecked, Utrecht

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: in·flect

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