dis·tort | \di-ˈstȯrt \

Definition of distort 

transitive verb

1 : to twist (see twist entry 1 sense 3b) out of the true meaning or proportion : to alter to give a false or unnatural picture or account distorted the facts

2 : 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 The singer's voice was electronically distorted.

3 : pervert distort justice

intransitive verb

: to become distorted Heat caused the wax figures to distort. also : to cause a twisting from the true, natural, or normal

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Other Words from distort

distorter noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of distort in a Sentence

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

The series begins with a bang, as Singh (Saif Ali Khan) is contacted by an anonymous caller who sits, Wizard-of-Oz-like, before a bank of computer monitors, distorting his voice and masking his location. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: The Criminal Life in Mumbai in ‘Sacred Games’," 6 July 2018 Sometimes a guy can have an incredible few weeks and our perception of him is distorted a little bit. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "11 compelling reasons to watch the World Cup," 6 June 2018 Mexico reiterates its position against protectionist measures that affect and distort international commerce in goods,’ the government said in a statement. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "One crazy summer for Trump and Mueller," 1 June 2018 After the world asked how the nation’s leading pollsters could have been so wrong, British lawmakers launched an inquiry into whether misleading polls, in the referendum and other recent elections, were distorting democracy. Cam Simpson, Bloomberg.com, "Brexit’s Big Short: How Pollsters Helped Hedge Funds Beat the Crash," 25 June 2018 Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the Quill decision had distorted the nation’s economy and had caused states to lose annual tax revenues between $8 billion and $33 billion. Jonathan Shorman And Allison Kite, kansascity, "Online shopping may eventually cost more. But it could help Kansas, Missouri," 22 June 2018 The mayor said all three funds are unnecessary, create confusion in the city's funds-accounting system, distort the general fund balance and are unable to be implemented as written. John Benson, cleveland.com, "Seven Hills mayor wants City Council to repeal three funds that the State of Ohio says are illegal," 11 Apr. 2018 Simpson said, expressing frustration that the focus from opponents has distorted the concept. Mary Ellen Klas, miamiherald, "In face of increasing NRA pressure, Florida Senate delays vote on gun reforms | Miami Herald," 2 Mar. 2018 Complaints that Chinese trade practices distort global markets are at the heart of the Trump administration’s trade dispute with China. Chao Deng, WSJ, "China Defends WTO Record as Trade Fight Looms," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distort.' 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 distort

1567, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for distort

Latin distortus, past participle of distorquēre, from dis- + torquēre to twist — more at torture entry 1

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Statistics for distort

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distort

The first known use of distort was in 1567

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More Definitions for distort



English Language Learners Definition of distort

: 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


dis·tort | \di-ˈstȯrt \
distorted; distorting

Kids Definition of distort

1 : to twist out of shape

2 : to change so as to make untrue or inaccurate Reports distorted the facts.

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Comments on distort

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a state of commotion or excitement

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