dis·​tor·​tion | \ di-ˈstȯr-shən How to pronounce distortion (audio) \

Definition of distortion

1 : the act of twisting or altering something out of its true, natural, or original state : the act of distorting a distortion of the facts
2 : the quality or state of being distorted : a product of distorting: such as
a physics : a lack of proportionality in an image resulting from defects in the optical system an image free of distortion
b : falsified reproduction of an audio or video signal (see signal entry 1 sense 4b) caused by change in the wave form of the original signal

Other Words from distortion

distortional \ di-​ˈstȯr-​shnəl How to pronounce distortion (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of distortion in a Sentence

a distortion of the car chassis resulting from collision
Recent Examples on the Web Now there appears to be a new display distortion problem affecting some owners, but how serious are either? Janhoi Mcgregor, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 These devices, which look like hearing aids and sell for a fraction of the price, amplify sounds, but some do not address other components of hearing loss, such as distortion. NBC News, 22 July 2021 The result is ultra-low distortion levels across the entire signal bandwidth and a sound that’s clear and open. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2021 Unfortunately, the buds definitely introduce some distortion at even medium levels, and even more at higher levels. Christian De Looper, BGR, 8 Nov. 2021 One possibility is a phenomenon called memory distortion. Paul Bloom, The Atlantic, 2 Nov. 2021 The Ventures Noted for their experimentation and creativity, The Ventures were one of the first bands to release concept albums and use special effects (such as the fuzz distortion peddle) in its music. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, 30 Oct. 2021 The AirPods also have a low distortion driver, which basically makes the base sound more powerful, and gives you crisper high frequencies. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, 20 Oct. 2021 This new version comes with a lower distortion dynamic driver for better bass and crisper high-end, but once again lacks eartips. Brenda Stolyar, Wired, 18 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'distortion.' 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 distortion

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for distortion

see distort

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The first known use of distortion was in 1581

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Distortion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distortion. Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for distortion


dis·​tor·​tion | \ di-ˈstȯr-shən How to pronounce distortion (audio) \

Kids Definition of distortion

: the act of twisting out of shape or making inaccurate : the state of being twisted out of shape or made inaccurate a distortion of the facts a facial distortion


dis·​tor·​tion | \ dis-ˈtȯr-shən How to pronounce distortion (audio) \

Medical Definition of distortion

1 : the censorship of unacceptable unconscious impulses so that they are unrecognizable to the ego in the manifest content of a dream
2 : a lack of correspondence of size or intensity in an image resulting from defects in an optical system

More from Merriam-Webster on distortion

Nglish: Translation of distortion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of distortion for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about distortion


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