verb (used with object)
- to modulate (the voice).
- to apply inflection to (a word).
- to recite or display all or a distinct set of the inflections of (a word); decline or conjugate.
- to bend; turn from a direct line or course.
- Botany. to bend in.
verb (used without object)
- Grammar. to be characterized by inflection.
- (grammar) to change (the form of a word) or (of a word) to change in form by inflection
- (tr) to change (the voice) in tone or pitch; modulate
- (tr) to cause to deviate from a straight or normal line or course; bend
early 15c., “to bend inward,” from Latin inflectere (past participle inflexus) “to bend in, bow, curve,” figuratively, “to change,” from in- “in” (see in- (1)) + flectere “to bend” (see flexible). Grammatical sense is attested 1660s; pronunciation sense (in inflection) is c.1600. Related: Inflected; inflecting.