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

Example Sentences

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 On that topic, Darnold, who played at USC and spent three seasons with the New York media, showed his time in the spotlight had taught him how to deftly deflect questions. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Mar. 2023 But so much of it is constructed around justifying what the Astros were doing and trying to deflect it. Josh Criswell, Chron, 19 Feb. 2023 Everyone else saw a guilty accountant trying to deflect. Seija Rankin, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2023 Analysts say China is trying to deflect criticism for its surveillance balloons, which have been spotted in other parts of the world, including Taiwan, Latin America, and the Middle East. David Pierson,, 15 Feb. 2023 The governor on Tuesday also tried to deflect controversy over school library books, including one on baseball legend Roberto Clemente that was removed in Duval County. Steven Lemongello, Orlando Sentinel, 14 Feb. 2023 In a news conference Monday, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin seemed to deflect questions asking whether the three objects that were downed were connected to China. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, 13 Feb. 2023 Cameron and Demi tried to deflect and change the subject, but Ines told her big sister that Rusty was an actor hired by her uncle to distract her. Jasmine Washington, Seventeen, 2 Feb. 2023 Small imperfections are absorbed surprisingly well, but medium-size bumps don't seem to deflect the suspension at all. Csaba Csere, Car and Driver, 1 Feb. 2023 See More

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.

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 27 Mar. 2023.

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

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