as in to distort
to twist (something) out of a natural or normal shape or condition the acrobat is able to contort his body so that it almost looks like a pretzel

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How does the verb contort contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of contort are deform, distort, and warp. While all these words mean "to mar or spoil by or as if by twisting," 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

When could deform be used to replace contort?

While in some cases nearly identical to contort, deform may imply a change of shape through stress, injury, or accident of growth.

a face deformed by hatred

Where would warp be a reasonable alternative to contort?

The words warp and contort are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, warp indicates an uneven shrinking that bends or twists out of a flat plane.

warped floorboards

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Cite this Entry

“Contort.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/contort. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

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