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 The pork dilemma has spiraled to the point that domestic prices may be distorted by pork speculators, Wen said. Washington Post, "China chops tariffs on pork as soaring prices make it tougher to bring home the bacon," 23 Dec. 2019 Unfortunately, both of these bands of light tend to get scattered and distorted by clouds and rain—which hurricanes have in spades—leading to noisy data that’s difficult to use. Nicolas Rivero, Quartz, "Meteorologists can finally stop throwing out good data on hurricanes," 18 Dec. 2019 Some economists argue these figures are distorted by the inclusion of Medicaid. The Economist, "Economists are rethinking the numbers on inequality," 28 Nov. 2019 The Hoosiers find their bowl picture distorted both by the sheer number of teams around them with similar records, and by the uncertainty at the top of the conference. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "IU football gets major interest from Music City Bowl," 19 Nov. 2019 But Auburn’s run defense allows 3.4 yards per carry, 20th in the country – a number distorted slightly by the 20 carries for 112 yards from Ole Miss’ quarterbacks. Christopher Smith, al, "Promising Georgia-Auburn under takes massive money," 12 Nov. 2019 Likewise, looking down on an object in the desert or grassland would also work because the uniform background has few features to be distorted by the lens sheet. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Plastic invisibility cloak hides you from people with plastic brains," 25 Oct. 2019 However, the candidate selection process has become distorted by a number of factors. Didi Kuo, Vox, "Challenges to parties in the United States and beyond," 20 June 2019 Her voice is mildly distorted by the microphone embedded in the MRI scanner, which from my slightly blurry vantage point looks less like an industrial cannoli than a beast with a glowing blue mouth. Quanta Magazine, "‘Functional Fingerprint’ May Identify Brains Over a Lifetime," 16 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for distort

Time Traveler

The first known use of distort was in 1567

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Statistics for distort

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Distort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distort?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=d&file=distor01. Accessed 19 Feb. 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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