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

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Other Words from distortion

distortional \ -​shnəl How to pronounce distortional (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, as will be put on display at an motion graphics industry conference next month, the software can account for wide-ranging head and eye movements without much obvious distortion. Brian Resnick, Vox, "We’re underestimating the mind-warping potential of fake video," 23 July 2018 These crucial distortions turned an indictment of individuals into one of the British authorities and the crown, inspiring patriotic resistance in the years to come. WSJ, "Fake News, Propaganda Go Back a Long Way in U.S.," 15 Jan. 2019 The cumulative effect of all of Berann’s creative distortions were beautiful scenes that emphasized the natural beauty of the parks. Betsy Mason, National Geographic, "Gorgeous Panoramic Paintings of National Parks Now Online," 28 June 2018 In addition to creating competitive distortions and misdirecting scarce resources that should go to bringing broadband to the truly unserved areas, municipal broadband networks have engaged in significant First Amendment mischief. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "FCC Republican claims municipal broadband is threat to First Amendment," 30 Oct. 2018 The result of his research was a massive tome that pointed out all the distortions and falsehoods taught in US history classes. Sean Illing, Vox, "The biggest lie we still teach in American history classes," 1 Aug. 2018 Any pressure applied to part of the mat causes a distortion in the fibres and a consequent change in the amount of light transmitted. The Economist, "The way people walk can be used for ID and health checks," 12 July 2018 The visual style of the movie is very disorienting, there are certain distortions in the image and also some very unusual camera placement. Mark Olsen, latimes.com, "With Claire Foy and an iPhone, post-retirement Steven Soderbergh blazes another trail with 'Unsane'," 22 Mar. 2018 To correct this, an independent commission should draw congressional districts with contiguous geographic areas and no extreme distortions in dimensions. Guest Columnist/cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Fake news, real destruction: Robert W. Janke (Opinion)," 21 Jan. 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

28 Mar 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 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

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Comments on distortion

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