in·​flec·​tion | \ in-ˈflek-shən How to pronounce inflection (audio) \

Definition of inflection

1 : change in pitch or loudness of the voice
2a : the change of form that words undergo to mark such distinctions as those of case, gender, number, tense, person, mood, or voice
b : a form, suffix, or element involved in such variation
c : accidence
3 : the act or result of curving or bending : bend
4a : change in curvature of an arc or curve from concave to convex or conversely

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Synonyms for inflection


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Did You Know?

Changing the pitch, tone, or loudness of our words are ways we communicate meaning in speech, though not on the printed page. A rising inflection at the end of a sentence generally indicates a question, and a falling inflection indicates a statement, for example. Another way of inflecting words is by adding endings: -s to make a noun plural, -ed to put a verb in the past tense, -er to form the comparative form of an adjective, and so on.

Examples of inflection in a Sentence

She spoke with no inflection. She read the lines with an upward inflection. Most English adjectives do not require inflection. “Gone” and “went” are inflections of the verb “go.” English has fewer inflections than many other languages.
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Recent Examples on the Web Since that time, key inflection points have forced industry change. Serenity Gibbons, Forbes, "How Businesses Are Using Data To Make A Real Impact," 25 Feb. 2021 Earlier times of crisis also led to inflection points in self-decoration. Leena Kim, Town & Country, "In the Midst of a Pandemic, Handbag Sales Are Breaking Records," 22 Feb. 2021 Zoom out and the overall shape of the pandemic becomes evident: patterns of spread, populations with special vulnerabilities, inflection points. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, "By tracking coronavirus mutations, scientists aim to forecast the pandemic’s future," 7 Feb. 2021 And are there inflection points in the slope of the development of that number? CBS News, "Full Transcript: Dr. Deborah Birx on "Face the Nation," January 24, 2021," 24 Jan. 2021 Jennings has almost mastered the way Trebek used inflection to make the clues sound both interesting and a little bit like questions. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "The first 'Jeopardy!' without Alex Trebek: How did Ken Jennings do as host?," 12 Jan. 2021 The suit seeks damages related to breach of an oral contract, among other complaints that include intentional inflection of emotional distress. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "NBA investigating Clippers after allegations against Jerry West are made in lawsuit," 17 Dec. 2020 Elections are inflection points, not ends or beginnings. Jordan Kurland, Billboard, "Artist Activism Helped Get Biden Elected, But We Must Keep It Going (Guest Column)," 4 Dec. 2020 When the history of the electric car is written, there will be certain inflection points that mark monumental leaps in progress and technology. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "Porsche Taycan Sets Guinness Record for Longest Drift in an Electric Car," 23 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'inflection.' 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 inflection

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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Time Traveler for inflection Time Traveler

The first known use of inflection was in 1531

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Statistics for inflection

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inflection.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for inflection



English Language Learners Definition of inflection

: a rise or fall in the sound of a person's voice : a change in the pitch or tone of a person's voice
: a change in the form of a word that occurs when it has a particular use
: a form of a word that occurs when it has a particular use : an inflected form


in·​flec·​tion | \ in-ˈflek-shən How to pronounce inflection (audio) \

Kids Definition of inflection

1 : a change in the pitch of a person's voice
2 : a change in a word that shows a grammatical difference (as of number, person, or tense)


variants: or chiefly British inflexion \ in-​ˈflek-​shən How to pronounce inflection (audio) \

Medical Definition of inflection

: the act or result of curving or bending

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