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 But this notion turns out to be incorrect: After limiting the distorting effect of the outliers, the share of income people give away is essentially flat across income levels. Benjamin A. Priday, The Conversation, "Rich folks aren’t that stingy after all," 7 May 2020 The distorting effects of an epidemic can last for years, Clare Wenham, an assistant professor of global-health policy at the London School of Economics, told me. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism," 19 Mar. 2020 The competition gets distorted as the stars stay on schedule and have certainty, while the journeyfolk still sit out delays. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Mailbag: How Much Should We Care About the Laver Cup?," 18 Sep. 2019 Gneezy and his colleagues studied how referees reacted and how receiving a bribe distorted their judgment. Dan Ariely, Scientific American, "Corruption Is Contagious," 1 Sep. 2019 Degas relished the effect of the footlights on performers’ faces, which rendered them distorted and mask-like. Carol Strickland, The Christian Science Monitor, "Degas painted dancers and musicians with deftness and authority," 4 May 2020 Second, each member state should be prohibited from distributing bailouts to its enterprises in a way that unfairly bolsters their competitiveness and distorts the internal EU market. Fortune, "Coronavirus is making clear there is no solidarity in the EU," 2 May 2020 Some analysts are worried that the pressure from senior officials could distort assessments about the coronavirus. Victoria Shannon, New York Times, "Coronavirus, E.C.B., Chinese Lab: Your Friday Briefing," 1 May 2020 Our voices echoed a little across the prison phone line, slightly distorted. Shaheen Pasha, Longreads, "Following the North Star," 1 May 2020

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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Learn More about distort

Time Traveler for distort

Time Traveler

The first known use of distort was in 1567

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Statistics for distort

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Distort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distort. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for distort


How to pronounce distort (audio)

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 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for distort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with distort

Spanish Central: Translation of distort

Nglish: Translation of distort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distort for Arabic Speakers

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