con·​tort | \ kən-ˈtȯrt How to pronounce contort (audio) \
contorted; contorting; contorts

Definition of contort

transitive verb

: to twist in a violent manner features contorted with fury

intransitive verb

: to twist into or as if into a strained shape or expression His face contorted in a grimace of pain.

Other Words from contort

contortion \ kən-​ˈtȯr-​shən How to pronounce contort (audio) \ noun
contortive \ kən-​ˈtȯr-​tiv How to pronounce contort (audio) \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web This wasn't a World Cup qualifier, so U.S. Soccer shouldn't need to contort the rules of the ticketing process to ensure a majority, pro-U.S. crowd (which Wednesday still seemed to be, by the way). Pat Brennan, The Enquirer, 2 June 2022 Adults, however, will have to squeeze, bend, squish and contort their arms and legs to sit in some three-row SUVs. Bymorgan Korn, ABC News, 8 May 2022 In 1692, a group of young girls, including Parris’ own daughter, Betty, and his niece, Abigail, began to bark like dogs and contort their bodies after allegedly attempting to divine their future. Brooklyn White, Essence, 29 Apr. 2022 Climbing requires you to be able to stretch your arms and legs high and wide, plus contort your body into unusual positions. Melanie Radzicki Mcmanus, CNN, 5 May 2022 Photographers won’t have to contort themselves to point their camera away from an eyesore if the seller prepares the property to look its best. oregonlive, 15 Mar. 2022 Democrats contort Congressional districts to protect themselves. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 8 Mar. 2022 It’d been forced to contort plenty en route to a record 25 victories this season. Los Angeles Times, 2 Mar. 2022 Maybe folding phones will contort us into a future of infinite screen shapes, bending and stretching across any surface product designers can imagine. Boone Ashworth, Wired, 8 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contort.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of contort

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for contort

Middle English, from Latin contortus, past participle of contorquēre, from com- + torquēre to twist — more at torture entry 1

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The first known use of contort was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Contort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for contort


con·​tort | \ kən-ˈtȯrt How to pronounce contort (audio) \
contorted; contorting

Kids Definition of contort

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

More from Merriam-Webster on contort

Nglish: Translation of contort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contort for Arabic Speakers


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