verb dis·tort \di-ˈstrt\

: to change the natural, normal, or original shape, appearance, or sound of (something) in a way that is usually not attractive or pleasing

: to change (something) so that it is no longer true or accurate

Full Definition of DISTORT

transitive verb
:  to twist out of the true meaning or proportion <distorted the facts>
:  to twist out of a natural, normal, or original shape or condition <a face distorted by pain>; also :  to cause to be perceived unnaturally <the new lights distorted colors>
:  pervert <distort justice>
intransitive verb
:  to become distorted; also :  to cause a twisting from the true, natural, or normal
dis·tort·er noun

Examples of DISTORT

  1. Her face was distorted by pain.
  2. The odd camera angle distorted her figure in the photograph.
  3. The sound of the guitar was distorted.
  4. Heat caused the plastic to distort.
  5. She felt he was distorting the facts.
  6. The story was distorted by the press.
  7. The loss of both her parents at an early age distorted her outlook on life.

Origin of DISTORT

Latin distortus, past participle of distorquēre, from dis- + torquēre to twist — more at torture
First Known Use: 1567

Synonym Discussion of DISTORT

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>.
DISTORTER Defined for Kids


verb dis·tort \di-ˈstrt\

Definition of DISTORT for Kids

:  to twist out of shape
:  to change so as to make untrue or inaccurate <Reports distorted the facts.>

Word Root of DISTORT

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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