Simple Definition of contort
: to twist into an unusual appearance or shape
Examples of contort in a sentence
His body contorted with pain.
The boy contorted his body to squeeze through the gate.
Her face was contorted with rage.
Did You Know?
Circus contortionists are known for twisting their bodies into pretzels; such contortions tend to be easier for females than for males, and much easier for the young than for the old. When trying to say something uncomfortable or dishonest, people often go through verbal contortions. But when someone else "twists" something you said or did, we usually say instead that they've distorted it.
Origin and Etymology 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
CONTORT Defined for Kids
Definition of contort for Students
: 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).