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 Public health experts warn that the effort to rewrite or distort the history of the pandemic is more than a political issue and could impact the ability of public health officials to prevent or mitigate a future pandemic. Author: Matt Viser, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Anchorage Daily News, 6 June 2021 Instead, the duo experimented with the score to create dissonance and subtly distort viewers’ perceptions of South Carolina’s promise. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 14 May 2021 However, at no time do those lower frequencies interfere or distort the silky-smooth treble. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 11 May 2021 The technology of photography has long been wielded as a weapon to control the image and distort the humanity of Black people. New York Times, 5 May 2021 Earlier this week, energy experts said the worst response from the public would be to hoard gasoline, which could squeeze supply even more in the short term and distort consumption behavior in a way that could cause unintended consequences. NBC News, 12 May 2021 How exactly does the headline number distort the true picture? George Calhoun, Forbes, 12 May 2021 These lenses can distort images by making objects around the edges of the frame appear larger than those in the center. Stephen J. Beard, USA TODAY, 7 May 2021 Joseph Lennis Tucker Edmonds, an assistant professor of Africana Studies at IUPUI, said Lucas' comment about Black slave owners seemed to distort the truth. Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, 29 Mar. 2021

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

11 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Distort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distort. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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 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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