distort

verb
dis·​tort | \ di-ˈstȯrt How to pronounce distort (audio) \
distorted; distorting; distorts

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

Every day you are inundated with an overexposure of advertising and mainstream media, social media and endless comparisons, distorting the truth, and trying to manipulate the power of positive thinking. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Just Gave a Powerful Speech at This Year's WE Day," 6 Mar. 2019 Both expeditions faced formidable technical problems, from monkeys interfering with the telescopes to high temperatures (which distorted the photographs) and cloudy skies. Andrew Robinson, WSJ, "The Experiment That Made Einstein Famous," 14 Feb. 2019 Critics also say Miranda’s portrait of Burr is horribly distorted and argue that Hamilton’s sister-in-law, Angelica Schuyler, was in no way a feminist, as she is portrayed in the musical. Mark Kennedy, The Seattle Times, "Historians irked by musical ‘Hamilton’ escalate their duel," 4 Feb. 2019 But his analysis is distorted by a flawed assumption. Nicholas Carr, chicagotribune.com, "Is Facebook the problem with Facebook, or is it us?," 10 July 2018 Many private operators say the enormous state backing for such acquisitions distorts shipping markets. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Asia State Players Wield Subsidies to Dominate Shipping," 2 Dec. 2018 The protagonist has deep black skin and oversized red lips that distort and exaggerate African facial features, much like in minstrel performance. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Prada pulled a collection of figurines that drew comparisons to anti-black caricatures," 14 Dec. 2018 Schizophrenia is a mental illness that distorts the way people think, feel, and behave, according to the NIMH. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "9 Things You Should Know About Taking Antipsychotic Drugs," 7 Dec. 2018 Already some TSOs are complaining to FERC that state energy policies are distorting their wholesale markets. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt.," 30 Nov. 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

13 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distort

The first known use of distort was in 1567

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More Definitions for distort

distort

verb

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

distort

verb
dis·​tort | \ di-ˈstȯrt How to pronounce distort (audio) \
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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More from Merriam-Webster on distort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with distort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for distort

Spanish Central: Translation of distort

Nglish: Translation of distort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distort for Arabic Speakers

Comments on distort

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