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verb con·tort \kən-ˈtȯrt\

Simple Definition of contort

  • : to twist into an unusual appearance or shape

Full Definition of contort

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to twist in a violent manner <features contorted with fury>

  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to twist into or as if into a strained shape or expression

con·tor·tion play \-ˈtȯr-shən\ noun
con·tor·tive play \-ˈtȯr-tiv\ adjective

Examples of contort

  1. His body contorted with pain.

  2. The boy contorted his body to squeeze through the gate.

  3. Her face was contorted with rage.

Origin of contort

Middle English, from Latin contortus, past participle of contorquēre, from com- + torquēre to twist — more at torture

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of contort

deform, distort, contort, warp means to mar or spoil by or as if by twisting. deform may imply a change of shape through stress, injury, or accident of growth <a face deformed by hatred>. distort and contort both imply a wrenching from the natural or normal, but contort suggests a more involved twisting and a more grotesque and painful result <the odd camera angle distorts the figure> <disease had contorted her body>. warp indicates an uneven shrinking that bends or twists out of a flat plane <warped floorboards>.

CONTORT Defined for Kids


verb con·tort \kən-ˈtȯrt\

Definition of contort


  1. :  to give an unusual appearance or unnatural shape to by twisting <His face contorted with anger.>

Word Root of contort

The Latin word torquēre, meaning “to twist,” and its form tortus give us the root tort. Words from the Latin torquēre have something to do with twisting. A retort, or angry reply to another's words, twists those words back at the person. To contort is to twist the body in unusual ways. To distort is to twist something, such as the truth, so much that it appears to be something else.

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February 5, 2016

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