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inflection

[in-flek-shuh n] /ɪnˈflɛk ʃən/
noun
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.
Also, especially British, inflexion.
Origin
1525-1535
1525-35; variant spelling of inflexion < Latin inflexiōn- (stem of inflexiō) a bending. See inflect, -ion
Related forms
inflectionless, adjective
preinflection, noun
Can be confused
infection, inflection.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for inflection
  • In tonal languages, the same word can have widely different meanings depending on the inflection of the speaker.
  • But then, still a long time ago, another kind of inflection infected the verbs.
  • Their emotional transparency was rooted in the fact that each expressive inflection was joined seamlessly to the next.
  • He could change the thought behind the dialogue with an inflection-and make a scene come alive.
  • Then the slope rises ever more steeply as bacteria proliferate until it reaches an inflection point.
  • But rental markets are tightening and builders are already talking about inflection points.
  • Students find slopes and tangents, maximum and minimum points, and points of inflection.
  • And some officers find it difficult to say the same thing twice with the same inflection.
  • The final step of developing the census block curve was to determine whereto set the inflection point.
  • We are at a historic inflection point in cancer care and research.
British Dictionary definitions for inflection

inflection

/ɪnˈflɛkʃən/
noun
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 versa See also point of inflection
Derived Forms
inflectional, inflexional, adjective
inflectionally, inflexionally, adverb
inflectionless, inflexionless, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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inflection in Medicine

inflection in·flec·tion (ĭn-flěk'shən)
n.
An inward bending.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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inflection in Culture

inflection definition


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.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for inflection

in linguistics, the change in the form of a word (in English, usually the addition of endings) to mark such distinctions as tense, person, number, gender, mood, voice, and case. English inflection indicates noun plural (cat, cats), third person singular present tense (I, you, we, they buy; he buys), past tense (we walk, we walked), verbals (called, calling), and comparatives (big, bigger, biggest). Changes within the stem, or main word part, are another type of inflection, as in sing, sang, sung and goose, geese. The paradigm of the Old Icelandic u-stem noun skjoldr ("shield"), for example, includes forms with both internal change and suffixation; the nominative singular form is skjoldr, the genitive singular is skjaldar, and the nominative plural is skildir. Many languages, such as Latin, Spanish, French, and German, have a much more extensive system of inflection. For example, Spanish shows verb distinction for person and number, "I, you, he, they live," vivo, vives, vive, viven ("I live," "you live," "he lives," "they live"). A number of languages, especially non-Indo-European ones, inflect with prefixes and infixes, word parts added before a main part or within the main part. Inflection differs from derivation in that it does not change the part of speech. Derivation uses prefixes and suffixes (e.g., in-, -tion) to form new words (e.g., inform, deletion), which can then take inflections.

Learn more about inflection with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Difficulty index for inflection

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Word Value for inflection

15
19
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