The verb deflect describes blocking something or changing its course. Hockey goalies deflect the flying puck with their sticks or blockers, making it travel in a different direction, preferably to a teammate's stick.

In a cartoon, a mouse might ask an approaching cat, "Hey, what's that up in the sky?" When the cat looks up, the mouse runs away, successful in his attempt to deflect the cat's attention. When you deflect, you throw someone or something off course, often by using a distraction. Another way to deflect something — such as criticism — is to blame someone else. Eventually the truth, like the cat who quickly sees there's nothing unusual up in the sky, catches up with those who deflect.

Definitions of deflect
  1. verb
    turn from a straight course, fixed direction, or line of interest
    synonyms: bend, turn away
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    type of:
    change orientation or direction, also in the abstract sense
  2. verb
    turn aside and away from an initial or intended course
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    type of:
    change orientation or direction, also in the abstract sense
  3. verb
    prevent the occurrence of; prevent from happening
    synonyms: avert, avoid, debar, fend off, forefend, forfend, head off, obviate, stave off, ward off
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    type of:
    forbid, foreclose, forestall, preclude, preempt, prevent
    keep from happening or arising; make impossible
  4. verb
    impede the movement of (an opponent or a ball)
    synonyms: block, parry
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    type of:
    fight with sword-like foils
  5. verb
    draw someone's attention away from something
    “He deflected his competitors”
    synonyms: distract
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    type of:
    confuse, disconcert, flurry, put off
    cause to feel embarrassment
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