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 This practice also gives him the fortitude to deflect ongoing attacks on his identity with poise and equanimity. Jemar Tisby, CNN, 22 Nov. 2022 Research shows trees help deflect the warmer, wetter effects of climate change in the Great Lakes region. oregonlive, 20 Nov. 2022 Make an effort to deflect unwelcome inquiries kindly. Chicago Tribune, 17 Nov. 2022 Indeed, his proximity to EA’s brand of self-sacrificing overthinkers often helped deflect the kind of scrutiny that might otherwise greet an executive who got rich quick from a secretive offshore scheme. Nitasha Tiku, Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2022 Expect the White House to try to deflect Republicans’ attacks by accusing them of focusing on distractions rather than the kitchen-table concerns of voters. Blake Hounshell, New York Times, 17 Nov. 2022 Conservative elites moved swiftly to deflect this threat. Arkansas Online, 6 Nov. 2022 Waxman avoided answering the question, and continued to deflect when Alito pointed out the evasion and asked the question again. Jay Caspian Kang, The New Yorker, 4 Nov. 2022 At that moment, after Butler appeared to deflect a Stephen Curry 3-point attempt, referee Lauren Holtkamp sounded her whistle for a three-shot foul against Butler on a Curry 3-point attempt, with the Heat up 112-109 at the time. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 2 Nov. 2022 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 1 Dec. 2022.

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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