noun Chiefly British.

  1. inflection.


  1. modulation of the voice; change in pitch or tone of voice.
  2. Also flection. Grammar.
    1. the process or device of adding affixes to or changing the shape of a base to give it a different syntactic function without changing its form class.
    2. the paradigm of a word.
    3. a single pattern of formation of a paradigm: noun inflection; verb inflection.
    4. the change in the shape of a word, generally by affixation, by means of which a change of meaning or relationship to some other word or group of words is indicated.
    5. the affix added to produce this change, as the -s in dogs or the -ed in played.
    6. the systematic description of such processes in a given language, as in serves from serve, sings from sing, and harder from hard (contrasted with derivation).
  3. a bend or angle.
  4. Mathematics. a change of curvature from convex to concave or vice versa.


  1. modulation of the voice
  2. (grammar) a change in the form of a word, usually modification or affixation, signalling change in such grammatical functions as tense, voice, mood, person, gender, number, or case
  3. an angle or bend
  4. the act of inflecting or the state of being inflected
  5. maths a change in curvature from concave to convex or vice versaSee also point of inflection

see inflection.


early 15c., from Middle French inflexion and directly from Latin inflexionem (nominative inflexio) “a bending, inflection, modification,” noun of action from past participle stem of inflectere (see inflect). For spelling, see connection. Grammatical sense is from 1660s.


  1. An inward bending.

A change in the form of a word to reflect different grammatical functions of the word in a sentence. English has lost most of its inflections. Those that remain are chiefly possessive (‘s), as in “the boy’s hat”; plural (-s), as in “the three girls”; and past tense (-d or -ed), as in cared. Other inflections are found in pronouns — as in he, him, his — and in irregular words such as think/thought, child/children, and mouse/mice.

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