Simple Definition of deflect
: to cause (something that is moving) to change direction
: to hit something and suddenly change direction
: to keep (something, such as a question) from affecting or being directed at a person or thing
Examples of deflect in a sentence
armor that can deflect bullets
The goalie deflected the ball with his hands.
The ball deflected off the goalie's shoulder.
They are trying to deflect attention from the troubled economy.
The blame was deflected from the chairman.
Did You Know?
Use of the physical meaning of deflect is common. Thus, a soccer goalie's save might involve deflecting the ball rather than catching it, and workers wear eye shields to deflect tiny particles flying out of machines. But the nonphysical meaning may be even more common. A Hollywood actress might deflect criticism about her personal life by giving lavishly to charity, for example, and we've all tried to change the subject to deflect a question we really didn't want to answer.
Origin and Etymology of deflect
Latin deflectere to bend down, turn aside, from de- + flectere to bend
First Known Use: circa 1555
DEFLECT Defined for Kids
Definition of deflect for Students
: to change or cause to change direction <The goalie deflected the puck.>
Word Root of deflect
The Latin word flectere, meaning “to bend” or “to curve,” and its form flexus give us the roots flect and flex. Words from the Latin flectere have something to do with bending or curving. To flex is to cause something, such as a muscle, to curve or bend. Something flexible can be bent without breaking. To deflect, or turn aside, is to bend the direction of something. To reflect is to bend an image back to the person looking at a mirror or other shiny surface.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up deflect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).