Abstract In this paper the semi-analytical analyses of the flexible cantilever tapered functionally graded beam under combined inclined end loading and intermediate loading are studied. In order to derive the fully non-linear equations governing the non-linear deformation, a curvilinear coordinate system is introduced. A general non-linear second order differential equation that governs the shape of a deflected beam is derived based on the geometric nonlinearities, infinitesimal local displacements and local rotation concepts with remarkable physical properties of functionally graded materials. The solutions obtained from semi-analytical methods are numerically compared with the existing elliptic integral solution for the case of a flexible uniform cantilever functionally graded beam. The effects of taper ratio, inclined end load angle and material property gradient on large deflection of the beam are evaluated. The Adomian decomposition method will be useful toward the design of tapered functionally graded compliant mechanisms driven by smart actuators.