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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In these pages the ‘rude mechanicals’ are revealed, and the landscape suffers under their repetitious and certain anamorphoses.’
    • ‘The slender figures, warped by an obscure anamorphosis, have been salvaged from the darkness, retrieved and figured.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 The process by which anamorphic images are produced.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In searching for alternatives to Socialist Realism, he became interested in anamorphosis and in the art of the mentally ill.’
  • 2Biology
    A gradual, ascending progression or change of form to a higher type.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the essential nature of evolutionary anamorphosis remains enigmatic.’
    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.
      • ‘Only rarely have authors been able to rear a species from egg to adult to follow the anamorphosis.’
      • ‘The abdomen of Protura undergoes anamorphosis: in the first and second instars it has 9 segments, the third 10, and the rest 12.’
      • ‘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’).