de·​flect di-ˈflekt How to pronounce deflect (audio)
deflected; deflecting; deflects

transitive verb

: to turn (something) aside especially from a straight course or fixed direction
armor that deflects bullets
deflecting attention from the troubled economy
deflect a question

intransitive verb

: to turn aside : deviate
the shot deflected off the goalie's shoulder pad
deflectable adjective
deflective adjective
deflector noun

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Foster’s teenage face, hesitating and deflecting, is read as affirmation of their own experience in the world and in history. Jordan Kisner, The Atlantic, 18 Feb. 2024 The Blaugrana went 1-0 up on the stroke of half time thanks to Robert Lewandowski, but then surrendered their lead just a couple of minutes after the interval when Jules Kounde deflected an Iago Aspas shot past goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Tom Sanderson, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2024 Tkachuk then had the primary assist on Ekblad’s power-play goal 8:27 into the frame and on Lundell’s goal 13:02 into the frame when Lundell deflected in Tkachuk’s shot. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 15 Feb. 2024 Four years ago in the Super Bowl’s fourth quarter — which his team won, 21-0 — Jones batted two 49ers passes and deflected another for an incompletion. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Feb. 2024 Some legal analysts said the complaint raised concerns that the country’s judicial system was being weaponized to deflect attention from accusations that some senior government officials, including the prime minister, have been implicated in the assassination. Frances Robles, New York Times, 6 Feb. 2024 The artist, however, appeared on an Atlanta radio show Monday morning and jovially deflected questions about the incident, describing his arrest as a minor detour on an otherwise celebratory night. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 5 Feb. 2024 Reinhart deflected in a Tkachuk shot from the blue line on the power play. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024 Williams played 59 snaps that contest, while also contributing a fourth-quarter interception that teammate Bryan Cook deflected. Williams had stayed ready to keep from getting ready. Jesse Newell, Kansas City Star, 9 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deflect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin deflectere to bend down, turn aside, from de- + flectere to bend

First Known Use

circa 1555, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of deflect was circa 1555

Dictionary Entries Near deflect

Cite this Entry

“Deflect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​flect di-ˈflekt How to pronounce deflect (audio)
: to turn or cause to turn aside (as from a course, direction, or position)
a bullet deflected by striking a wall

More from Merriam-Webster on deflect

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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