de·​form di-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce deform (audio)
deformed; deforming; deforms

transitive verb

: to spoil the form of
: to spoil the looks of : disfigure
a face deformed by bitterness
: to mar the character of
a marriage deformed by jealousy
: to alter the shape of by stress

intransitive verb

: to become misshapen or changed in shape
deformable adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for deform

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

Examples of deform in a Sentence

The disease eventually deforms the bones. The disease eventually causes the bones to deform.
Recent Examples on the Web Among these are deforming women by peppering their faces, breasts and genitals with birdshot, poisoning of girls on school campuses, public executions of young men, insidious murders of young women, plus rape and torture of almost 20,000 prisoners. Lily Moayeri, Spin, 8 Sep. 2023 These are spaces that can be deformed into the actual sphere from the perspective of homotopy but are different from the sphere in a certain precise sense. Kevin Hartnett, Quanta Magazine, 22 Aug. 2023 Either one or both of the front tie rods may deform under certain operating conditions such as hitting a curb, Nissan said in a filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 22 Aug. 2023 Beech leaf disease is caused by tiny, invasive round worms that feed on the inside of beech leaf buds, causing the leaves to become deformed. Claire Reid, Journal Sentinel, 2 Aug. 2023 Images from a crash site in the capital showed the façade of a skyscraper damaged on one floor, with glass shattered and structural beams snapped and deformed. Mithil Aggarwal, NBC News, 31 July 2023 The resulting piece is haunting; the delicate black and white fish deformed with jarring splotches of dangling brown guts. Kaila Yu, Los Angeles Times, 31 July 2023 The 2022 season saw a major change to the tires, with F1 expanding the tires from 13 inches to 18 inches, including a smaller sidewall that deforms less. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 2 Mar. 2023 Materials designed to crumple or deform in a crash to protect pedestrians or passengers, for example, can be hard or impossible to repair. Lawrence Ulrich, New York Times, 3 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deform.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French desfurmer, from Latin deformare, from de- + formare to form, from forma form

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deform was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near deform

Cite this Entry

“Deform.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


de·​form di-ˈfȯ(ə)rm How to pronounce deform (audio)
: to make or become misshapen or changed in shape

More from Merriam-Webster on deform

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