dis·tor·tion | \di-ˈstȯr-shən \

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

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Other Words from distortion

distortional \-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl \ adjective

Examples of distortion in a Sentence

a distortion of the car chassis resulting from collision

Recent Examples on the Web

The wreckage isn't a far cry from the plans LCD have to create their own amount of distortion and chaos in the name of raving. Eve Barlow, Billboard, "LCD Soundsystem Vs. Yeah Yeah Yeahs Revives 2003's NYC Sound in Los Angeles," 5 May 2018 Change will require potentially painful reforms, like the elimination of a dual-currency system that has created damaging economic distortions. Michael Weissenstein And Andrea Rodriguez, The Christian Science Monitor, "Cubans await transition of power away from ruling revolutionaries," 13 Apr. 2018 As a solo artist, Buckethead releases ominous metal records, with chugging riffs, wailing guitar sounds and buzzing distortion. John Adamian, courant.com, "Buckethead To Play The Warehouse," 7 Apr. 2018 One team at the University of Michigan said in March that the symptoms may have been the result, not of a deliberate attack, but of sound distortion caused by ultrasonic surveillance devices placed too close together. Josh Chin, WSJ, "U.S. Evacuates Workers From China After Complaints of Mystery Illness," 7 June 2018 To calculate the degree of nasal distortion in up-close photos, Paskhover worked with Ohad Fried, a research fellow in Stanford’s computer science department. Tom Avril, Philly.com, "Do selfies make your nose look big? Rutgers study says yes," 1 Mar. 2018 Opponents of the recall started a Vote No campaign, seeing the recall effort as a distortion of Persky’s record and a threat to judicial independence. Gabriel Baumgaertner, SI.com, "Brock Turner, the 'Athlete Bias,' and the Movement That Produced the Recall of Judge Aaron Persky," 6 June 2018 With a market monetary system price declines occur at the point of productivity gains, hence, no relative price distortions and no malinvestment. WSJ, "Time for a Market-Based Monetary System?," 16 May 2018 As is often the case with Trump, his criticism of the pipeline project contains a measure of truth within his distortions and misrepresentations. Eli Stokols, latimes.com, "Trump disrupts NATO summit with blasts at allies, especially Germany, and new defense spending demands," 11 July 2018

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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Statistics for distortion

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for distortion

The first known use of distortion was in 1581

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More Definitions for distortion


dis·tor·tion | \di-ˈstȯr-shən \

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 \

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

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Comments on distortion

What made you want to look up distortion? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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