Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

contort

play
verb con·tort \kən-ˈtȯrt\

Simple Definition of contort

  • : to twist into an unusual appearance or shape

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

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

contortion play \-ˈtȯr-shən\ noun
contortive play \-ˈtȯr-tiv\ adjective

Examples of contort in a sentence

  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

contort

play
verb con·tort \kən-ˈtȯrt\

Definition of contort for Students

contortedcontorting

  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.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up contort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a smart aleck

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

angry prompt maudlin oily
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ