Definition of anamorphosis in English:



  • 1A distorted projection or drawing that appears normal when viewed from a particular point or with a suitable mirror or lens.

    • ‘Although, the famous anamorphosis of the skull in the foreground of the London painting is a surpassing paradox, it carries essentially the same message of a world turned upside down as Henry Patensen's unsettling gaze.’
    • ‘The slender figures, warped by an obscure anamorphosis, have been salvaged from the darkness, retrieved and figured.’
    • ‘Each has its own angle, as the phrase goes, or slant - the calculated warp or distortion of a perspective; they are, in effect, more like anamorphoses than representations of the object to which they are applied.’
    • ‘It is easy to read the death's head in The Ambassadors purely as an exercise in negation, particularly since the anamorphosis so unsettles one's sense of reality.’
    • ‘In these pages the ‘rude mechanicals’ are revealed, and the landscape suffers under their repetitious and certain anamorphoses.’
    1. 1.1 The process by which anamorphic images are produced.
      • ‘In searching for alternatives to Socialist Realism, he became interested in anamorphosis and in the art of the mentally ill.’
      • ‘Indeed, a Double Head of a Fool from a century later by Jacob van der Heyden shows that fools, too, could be subjects of anamorphosis.’
      • ‘If the anamorphosis produces the result of obscuring, prohibiting the frontal view of the work, the execution process requires the rigor of construction.’
      • ‘Recognising the fluidity and occasional capriciousness of perception, Leonardo delighted in it, contriving not only rebuses or visual puns, but also optical illusions and even demonstrations of anamorphosis.’
      • ‘A torsion typical of anamorphosis twists the image, crumples it and alters it, attempting to introduce the eccentrical into the field of view.’
  • 2Biology
    A gradual, ascending progression or change of form to a higher type.

    • ‘But the essential nature of evolutionary anamorphosis remains enigmatic.’
    • ‘It may indeed be a matter of very grave consideration whether true anamorphosis ever occurs in the whole animal kingdom.’
    • ‘It is therefore difficult to justify anamorphosis purely on the basis of its contribution to fitness.’
    1. 2.1 Development of the adult form through a series of small changes, especially in some arthropods, the acquisition of additional body segments after hatching.
      • ‘The abdomen of Protura undergoes anamorphosis: in the first and second instars it has 9 segments, the third 10, and the rest 12.’
      • ‘Only rarely have authors been able to rear a species from egg to adult to follow the anamorphosis.’
      • ‘Whether epimorphosis or anamorphosis is the primitive condition in centipedes has been extensively debated in the literature, but only through a rigorous phylogenetic framework can we understand this important evolutionary trend.’


Early 18th century: from Greek anamorphōsis ‘transformation’, from ana- ‘back, again’ + morphosis ‘a shaping’ (from morphoun ‘to shape’, from morphē ‘shape, form’).