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

There didn’t seem to be any distortion near the small portion of the screen with the most physical bend, either. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Victory, Royole: The FlexPai is the first folding phone we've seen," 10 Jan. 2019 One Ars source indicates that this bulge's design and placement is for the sake of reducing electromagnetic distortion, since (as the above gallery shows) the ML1 has quite a bit of conductive metal. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "iFixit dissects the $2,299 Magic Leap One so you don’t have to," 23 Aug. 2018 Guitar distortion had been around almost as long as the electric guitar. Terence Mcardle, Washington Post, "Glenn Snoddy, Nashville engineer who brought ‘fuzz tone’ to rock, dies at 96," 30 May 2018 While gross distortions of income have historically sometimes led to revolts, the real concern isn’t whether someone like Mark Zuckerberg makes an obscene income, but whether or not quality of life improves over time. Stephen Horwitz, WSJ, "Two Blueprints to Make America Great Again," 9 Dec. 2018 Nobody is better at rendering hideous distortions of the human form. Verge Staff, The Verge, "Smart scares for smart people," 31 Oct. 2018 Up pins and athletes on bended knee, alt-means of alt-communication to counter the strange distortions that define the Age of Trump. Nancy Gibbs, Time, "Free Speech, Forced Speech and the Right to Silence," 1 Mar. 2018 Bloomberg View contributor Ramesh Ponnuru argues that Democratic senators bought into a shameless distortion of a conservative law professor’s views. Bloomberg.com, "Ramesh Ponnuru on Senator Feinstein’s Attack on a Court Nominee," 11 Sep. 2017 To combat this distortion, projections like the Gall-Peters map attempt to depict all the continents as the correct size. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Feast Your Eyes on "Equal Earth," the New and More Accurate World Map," 5 Sep. 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

17 Jan 2019

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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marked by shyness and lack of polish

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