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 Where a kernel of truth can be distorted into something other than what was presented. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni tells another side of a Sanskrit epic," 11 Sep. 2019 The world The Memory Police re-emerges into demands an entirely new reading, one where information isn’t distorted. Wired, "The Memory Police," 20 Aug. 2019 The set, a faithful recreation of real internment camps, appears claustrophobic and cruel, as if some once-idealized children’s summer camp has been distorted and twisted into something ugly and unspeakable. Aja Romano, Vox, "The Terror: Infamy turns America’s WWII internment camps into a bleak ghost story," 19 Aug. 2019 Its skull, for one, was boxier than that of Massospondylus, prompting some researchers to assume that it had been distorted during the fossilization process. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "After 30 Years, a South African Dinosaur Is Identified as a New Species," 5 Aug. 2019 But in what appeared to be a response to backlash from conservative community members, the spiritual council put out a statement days later saying its decision had been distorted. Washington Post, "Iraq’s Yazidi women must abandon kids born in IS captivity," 4 Aug. 2019 One skull was nearly complete, but it had been distorted during the millennia spent in its rocky casing. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "Enigmatic skull may be the oldest modern human outside Africa. But questions abound.," 10 July 2019 Apidima 1 was in pieces, and Apidima 2, the most complete skull belonging to the Neanderthal, was distorted. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "210,000-year-old human skull in Greece is the oldest found outside Africa," 10 July 2019 The natural pushback is to say that these measures are distorted, because so many of the big technology stocks are flush with cash. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Stock Market’s Record Isn’t a Reason to Worry," 24 June 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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Statistics for distort

Last Updated

6 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for distort

The first known use of distort was in 1567

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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

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