Definition of deflect in English:



  • 1with object, and usually with adverbial of direction Cause (something) to change direction; turn aside from a straight course.

    ‘the bullet was deflected harmlessly into the ceiling’
    figurative ‘he attempted to deflect attention away from his private life’
    • ‘To be worn with a skirt and a perfect pedicure, of course, to deflect the nagging thought that just maybe, with all this yoga, I am turning into a hippie.’
    • ‘He knows where to be, has the ability to deflect a shot coming in and has the quick reflexes to pounce on rebounds.’
    • ‘Meaning that it had deflected its share of bullets, and that if he hadn't been wearing it, he would be on the floor lying dead with the rest.’
    • ‘A few alpha particles were deflected from their straight course.’
    • ‘The first attempt to deflect an asteroid should not be when it counts for real, because there are no doubt many surprises in store as we learn how to manipulate asteroids.’
    • ‘Cantus swung frantically, attempting to deflect his opponent's blows, one of his swipes finally scoring underneath Soren's defenses.’
    • ‘An attempt to deflect a comet or asteroid is already in the planning stage.’
    • ‘The ball was deflected off course by some debris which had collected under the cloth when the table was moved to the centre of the arena on Wednesday.’
    • ‘They wore mirrored armor that would deflect a number of shots until the enamel wore off and only plain steel lay beneath.’
    • ‘He would rather dive athletically into the mud to save a nifty strike or make a catlike leap - despite his allegedly gammy knee - to deflect a shot heading for the top corner.’
    • ‘He deflected the stones aside and ran towards his foes.’
    • ‘And of course he deftly deflects the issue by segueing into an attack on the standards of the scientific community.’
    • ‘They are attempting to deflect the ball, distract and unsight defenders and goalkeeper and be in place for rebound opportunities.’
    • ‘Some of the blasts were deflected harmlessly off the shielded domed generator shell.’
    • ‘The vixen stopped short just six feet from him and gave a single warning cough, which deflected the cubs aside like bullets ricocheting from his legs.’
    • ‘You are in a better position to guard against a shot or deflect a pass.’
    • ‘A soft hammer punch was aimed at Kaelon's hard chin, but of course it was deflected.’
    • ‘The final score came when Jack Kennedy's shot on goal was deflected over for a point.’
    • ‘As Church settles in at the table, she is neither striving to be the centre of attention nor attempting to deflect it.’
    • ‘When using your BBQ as an oven, the diffuser deflects the direct heat from the burners to prevent scorching the food in the bottom of the pan.’
    turn aside, turn away, divert, avert, sidetrack
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1no object, with adverbial of direction (of an object) change direction after hitting something.
      ‘the ball deflected off Knight's body’
      • ‘Chris threw his empty burger carton at Steve's head, but it deflected off the half-open refrigerator door as Steve put the milk back.’
      • ‘Paul Cuddy took a free from out near the middle of the field and as Darren Rooney and Sean Corcoran went up for the ball it deflected off the centre back's hurley and into the net.’
      • ‘His shot deflected off the post into the back of the net, to the dismay of the Veterans players.’
      • ‘It deflected off of the lamp next to the computer and ripped through her right arm, just underneath her elbow, and with a scream of pain, she fell from the seat.’
      • ‘Dowley was unlucky to see her own hat-trick opportunity disallowed after a thunderous short corner strike was judged to have illegally deflected off a defender.’
      • ‘The fireball just deflected off of him and burned off.’
      • ‘In fact, his lone interception deflected off its intended target.’
      • ‘A long ball from Derby deflected off a York defender to make the score 2-0.’
      • ‘A sniper bullet deflected off his helmet and impacted on the armor of his turret leaving him dazed but alive.’
      • ‘Instead, the shot deflected off his thigh and perfectly into the corner of the net.’
      • ‘Tommy Lovenkrands' hopeful shot from distance deflected off Thomas Flogel and beyond a helpless Antti Niemi.’
      • ‘After being recalled earlier in the day, he beat the Rangers' Mike Richter with a wrist shot that had deflected off a defender.’
      • ‘His ensuing shot deflected off the Real Madrid striker's heel past goalkeeper Paul Jones.’
      • ‘An autopsy report concluded that the bullet which killed the victim entered through the top of his head, most likely having deflected off a tree.’
      • ‘Popovic deflected the ball on, and it rolled to Routledge whose powerful low shot deflected off the hapless Jason Shackell into the net.’
      bounce, glance, ricochet
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Cause (someone) to deviate from an intended purpose.
      ‘she refused to be deflected from anything she had set her mind on’
      • ‘Persecutors will seek to deflect us from the course God has set for our lives.’
      • ‘‘Far from deflecting us, last night's attack should strengthen our resolve to reach agreement,’ he said.’
      • ‘And even stepping into an environment dominated by women didn't deflect him from his goal.’
      • ‘Weapons inspections, sanctions, and even the Gulf War have not deflected him from that objective even for a moment.’
      • ‘By not looking at our assumptions we are deflected from pursuing enquiries which may be of value.’
      • ‘But if, in your judgment, it has no basis in fact or is just the whining of unhappy people, you can't let that deflect you from what you are trying to accomplish.’
      • ‘Worldly ambition and sexual desire deflected him from the true path.’
      • ‘How could any opponent appear to deflect the chief from the urgent cause of tribal defence?’
      • ‘But she added that they would not deflect her from her efforts and that she remained hopeful.’
      • ‘He warned the director to use his influence to deflect the President from taking unilateral action.’
      • ‘Having arrived at that belief he was never deflected from it and he spent the rest of his life working to secure its remedy.’
      • ‘We are deflected from our driving purpose - to keep readers informed.’
      • ‘The sickness and the ultimate end which she knew was inevitable did not deflect her from her duties and up to her last days she met her patients and carried on with her work.’
      • ‘Many feminists believe that the debate over whether or not mothers should have careers while they are mothering actually deflects us from addressing the needs of children and families.’
    3. 1.3 Cause (something) to change orientation.
      ‘the compass needle is deflected from magnetic north by metal in the aircraft’
      • ‘Traveling up to a thousand miles per second, they fly through space and are deflected by planetary magnetic fields.’
      • ‘They are deflected by magnetic fields between us and the source, or they interact with other particles, or they decay in flight.’
      • ‘The light wave is deflected from the original path.’
      • ‘Although these ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays are relatively rare, they are deflected less by magnetic fields.’
      • ‘When this happens the zonal wind can often be deflected from its normal west east orientation.’


Mid 16th century: from Latin deflectere, from de- ‘away from’ + flectere ‘to bend’.