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.

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Other Words from contort

contortion \ kən-​ˈtȯr-​shən How to pronounce contortion (audio) \ noun
contortive \ kən-​ˈtȯr-​tiv How to pronounce contortive (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web GuiZhang Niu starred in a classic pole act, contorting his muscular frame into astonishing poses like a human flag. Jake Fischer,, "How Red Panda Became the NBA's Favorite Halftime Performer," 28 Aug. 2019 My face contorts to some ugly sob shape When Denny and Eve welcome their first child, Enzo gets a little human sister, Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "Here's how much I cried watching the new dog movie 'Art of Racing in the Rain'," 9 Aug. 2019 Hutson showed over the weekend his crisp route running and ability to make catches in traffic, contorting his body in midair to snag balls. Los Angeles Times, "St. John Bosco standout Kris Hutson explains why he backed out of USC commitment," 29 July 2019 At least Bill Belichick proved his face can contort into a smile during a news conference. Jace Evans, USA TODAY, "Beat a Big Ten team *and* get $1,000,000? Yep, that happened," 15 Sep. 2019 No president likes to admit faults, and many have contorted the English language to avoid doing so. Los Angeles Times, "Trump tries to reroute hurricane to fit his reality, continuing a pattern," 5 Sep. 2019 Alas, this is not the only sector being contorted by California’s bureaucrats and busybodies. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Here’s Why Housing Is So Expensive," 30 Aug. 2019 Take a look at some of the best climbers in the world: Adam Ondra can contort his knees in seemingly inhuman ways, Margo Hayes can hook her heel high above her head, and Alex Megos can do full splits on the wall. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "12 Yoga Poses for Climbers to Do Daily," 9 Aug. 2019 The weather pattern happens when stationary high pressure system over Greenland and a low pressure system over the North Atlantic contorts the jet stream, cutting off cooler air from northern latitudes from reaching Europe. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "French Village Hits 114.6 Degrees, Setting New National Record," 1 July 2019

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.

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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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Statistics for contort

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for contort

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

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More Definitions for contort


How to pronounce contort (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of contort

: to twist into an unusual appearance or shape


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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on contort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for contort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with contort

Spanish Central: Translation of contort

Nglish: Translation of contort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of contort for Arabic Speakers

Comments on contort

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an agreement to stop fighting a war

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