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 Rehearsing a scene from The Cocktail Party, Eric accidently plays Julia’s voice on the record fast and high, weirdly distorted, and Kate goes along with it, impeccably speaking each word in a crazed, cartoon blur. David Gordon, Harper's magazine, "The Forty-Year Rehearsal," 6 Jan. 2020 There can be financial rewards for high rates, potentially distorting what is reported and leaving people unprotected. Elizabeth Cooney, STAT, "Experimental vaccine patch embeds invisible dots under the skin, leaving record of immunization," 18 Dec. 2019 Residents of Assam, where many Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar settle, fear that foreigners will burden their resources and distort their culture. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Internet shutdowns are becoming second-nature to the world’s largest democracy," 12 Dec. 2019 As Fanon wrote: Claiming to have heard the Voice of Algeria was, in a certain sense, distorting the truth. Marissa J. Moorman, Quartz Africa, "How radio played a pivotal role in the anti-colonial struggle in Angola during the Cold War," 7 Dec. 2019 My opponent has taken a screenshot of one second of a longer ad, distorting it out of context. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Ad appearing to attack Democratic City-County Council candidate draws ire on social media," 28 Oct. 2019 Start toward creating your own logo and illustrations, or distort and reshape illustrations in interesting ways. Benjamin Levin, CNN Underscored, "Expand your Adobe arsenal with The Ultimate Adobe CC Training Bundle," 9 Oct. 2019 Just as swiftly, Karen’s voice completes the verse, returning with the gentle response to Peluso’s distorted instrumental call, forging an incongruous duet. Longreads, "Why Karen Carpenter Matters," 4 Oct. 2019 Astronomers have seen how the gravity of the web’s filaments distort the images of more distant galaxies, making them align slightly, like fish swimming in a school. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Astronomers map galaxy-feeding hydrogen filaments for the first time," 3 Oct. 2019

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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Distort.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distorter. Accessed 24 January 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

Comments on distort

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a feeling of well-being or elation

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