de·​flect | \di-ˈflekt, dē-\

Definition of deflect 

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

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Other Words from deflect

deflectable \ -​ˈflek-​tə-​bəl \ adjective
deflective \ -​tiv \ adjective
deflector \ -​tər \ noun

Synonyms for deflect


divert, redirect, swing, turn, veer, wheel, whip

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

That follows a recent pattern of not sending high-level officials to the three-day forum that begins Friday, in an apparent attempt to deflect attention from China and its moves to shore up its claims to virtually the entire South China Sea. Fox News, "China dispatches low-level official to security conference," 1 June 2018 M’Baye Niang turns and shoots from about seven yards out, but David Ospina gets two hands in front of the hard shot and deflects it out for a corner. Joel Petterson, New York Times, "Colombia Emerges From the World Cup Chaos, Booting Senegal," 29 June 2018 With two outs, Winker produced a game-tying single that deflected off the glove of Cardinals’ third baseman Gyorko to score Votto’s pinch runner, Brandon Dixon. Bobby Nightengale,, "Cincinnati Reds force extra innings after late rain delay, lose to St. Louis Cardinals," 8 June 2018 While everyone in the press focused on Deadpool’s line mocking the dark tones of the DC cinematic universe, the best in-joke in the trailer has the antihero being riddled with bullets after trying to deflect them with his swords. Chris Thilk, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Deadpool 2' Marketing Blitz Bets on Too Much Being Just Enough," 14 May 2018 Newer airplanes use powerful computers to recognize increasing G load on the airplane and to reduce it by deflecting flight control surfaces. John Cox, USA TODAY, "Ask the Captain: Questions about three-engine jets," 17 June 2018 Thus, whenever an autocrat makes a stirring speech about national pride, his real aim may be to deflect attention from his own skulduggery. The Economist, "After decades of triumph, democracy is losing ground," 14 June 2018 During the election, Trump also argued that Democrats were making up links to Russia in order to deflect from their own problems. Ryan Teague Beckwith, Time, "Read the 191 Arguments President Trump Has Made Against the Mueller Investigation," 7 June 2018 Ironically, Ryan Reaves, a fourth-line forward acquired by Vegas at the trade deadline, recorded the series clincher by deflecting a shot from the blue line past Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck at 13:21 of the second period. Matt Rybaltowski, New York Times, "Vegas Golden Knights Reach Stanley Cup Finals in First Season," 20 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deflect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of deflect

circa 1555, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for deflect

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

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Statistics for deflect

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deflect

The first known use of deflect was circa 1555

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More Definitions for deflect



English Language Learners 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


de·​flect | \di-ˈflekt \
deflected; deflecting

Kids Definition of deflect

: to change or cause to change direction The goalie deflected the puck.

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Comments on deflect

What made you want to look up deflect? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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