Inflict vs inflect

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Inflict and inflect are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have different meanings. We will examine the definitions of inflict and inflect, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Inflict means to impose something painful, harmful or unpleasant upon someone, to mete out a punishment or to wound someone. Inflict is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are inflicts, inflicted, inflicting, inflicter. The word inflict is derived from the Latin word inflictus which means strike against.

Inflect means to modulate a musical note or the tone of voice, to curve or bend or to deviate from a straight line. In grammar, inflect means to change a word to reflect its grammatical function. Inflect is also a transitive verb, related words are inflects, inflected, inflecting, inflection. The word inflect is derived from the Latin word inflectere which means to curve or bend.


The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a 36-year-old woman for allegedly using hot pressing iron and hot water to inflict injuries on her maid, Chioma Samuel. (The Daily Post Nigeria)

“Even though the numbers between China and the U.S. are comparable, it seems clear that China is trying to twist the knife,” he said, “This is a warning that ‘we are willing to fight harder and inflict more pain that you are.’” (The Washington Post)

Kelly’s ability to smoothly inflect her jazz with elements of blues and soul are building broad support in jazz circuits nationwide. (Broadway World)

The ‘80s-inflected look is quite a departure from her recent style (this noughties tracksuit moment is a good example of her current fashion mood). (Vogue Magazine)