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

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 How to pronounce deflectable (audio) \ adjective
deflective \ -​tiv How to pronounce deflective (audio) \ adjective
deflector \ -​tər How to pronounce deflector (audio) \ 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

Those fireworks will not be easily deflected by more MAGA rallies in Ohio. Frank Rich, Daily Intelligencer, "When Trump Attacks Sessions, He Sounds Like a Guilty Man," 31 May 2018 Netanyahu has managed to deflect attention from his legal problems through a string of political and diplomatic victories in recent months. Washington Post, "Israeli PM’s wife charged with fraud, breach of trust," 22 June 2018 The act of deflecting the electrons gives the football a kick. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Physicists report electron is round—what does that mean?," 7 Nov. 2018 Siegel noted that young Whitten’s grownup neighbors put great emphasis on shoe-shining and presenting a polished appearance as a way of deflecting criticism from white people. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "In Baltimore Museum of Art exhibit, Jack Whitten’s sculptures explore the life of the renowned painter," 20 Apr. 2018 Little is known about the early life of Mr. Phillips, who deflected questions about his origins. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Raytheon’s Thomas Phillips: The CEO Who Refused to Tell His Own Story," 18 Jan. 2019 As Hyde-Smith continues to deflect questions on her remarks, though, many national campaign contributors, including Walmart, are asking for their money back. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Cindy Hyde-Smith called for a “front row” seat at a lynching. Now donors want their money back.," 20 Nov. 2018 Malkevich repeatedly ignored or deflected questions about USA Really’s funding. NBC News, "This man is running Russia's newest propaganda effort in the U.S. — or at least he's trying to," 15 June 2018 The central bank did not make a special note of trade in its statement, and Powell deftly deflected questions about rising trade friction. Don Lee,, "Fed raises interest rates and predicts faster pace of future increases," 14 June 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

12 Mar 2019

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 How to pronounce deflect (audio) \
deflected; deflecting

Kids Definition of deflect

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on deflect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deflect

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deflect

Spanish Central: Translation of deflect

Nglish: Translation of deflect for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deflect for Arabic Speakers

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