Definition of distort in English:



  • 1Pull or twist out of shape.

    ‘a grimace distorted her fine mouth’
    • ‘However the trade in 2001 was distorted due to the foot and mouth outbreak.’
    • ‘It's appalling that Ford, for example, will provide only one wide-angle photo, which distorts the shape of the vehicle.’
    • ‘Their faces were distorted with fear and anguish.’
    • ‘Prune carefully to avoid distorting the natural shape of the tree or leaving stubs on the remaining branches.’
    • ‘The surface of the mirror began to twist and swirl, distorting Ferik's own image until it had been sucked away completely.’
    • ‘The tail section was bent awkwardly, distorted as if heated plastic.’
    • ‘The roof was caved in, the passenger side was crushed, the windshield was blown out and the hood was twisted and distorted.’
    • ‘Not only did its reflection change, but the mirror's physical shape became distorted as well.’
    • ‘It was distorted in a horrible shape, because she had wrung her hands nervously.’
    • ‘The image is stretched, and the picture is distorted out of shape.’
    • ‘A section of the flow control valve was missing, while the metal pneumatic line remained attached but was bent and distorted.’
    • ‘He moves into a team and changes everything about it - knitting himself into the fabric and distorting and bending it from within.’
    • ‘Anamorphic images are distorted so that they appear correctly from one viewpoint only.’
    • ‘We see how poverty twists and distorts people and places.’
    • ‘His face was distorted with tension, sweat dripping from his temples to the tiny cheap pin on his shirt: manager.’
    • ‘Her face was distorted with agony, and small squeaks erupted from her mouth.’
    • ‘The irregular shape of the cornea distorts the image causing it to blur, unlike in a lazy eye where the eye is essentially normal.’
    • ‘This can distort or deform the frame or even break the glass.’
    • ‘As it reached Jenny, it was once again warped and distorted.’
    • ‘His face was slightly distorted due to the river rapids but I still recognized him.’
    twist, warp, contort, bend, buckle, deform, malform, misshape, disfigure
    twisted, warped, contorted, bent, buckled, deformed, malformed, misshapen, disfigured, crooked, irregular, awry, wry, out of shape
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    1. 1.1[no object]Become twisted out of shape.
      ‘the pipe will distort as you bend it’
      • ‘The 4mm safety glass used to make the Quality Mat gives it a very solid feel - there is no way that this surface should bend, warp or distort.’
      • ‘The shadows warped and distorted as a humanoid shape detached itself.’
      • ‘Don't grip the huss too hard as this makes them twist and distort even more.’
      • ‘As she snaps her fingers, the pillar distorts, and bends.’
      • ‘The shape fitted my head without distorting, as so oft-occurred with other caps.’
      • ‘A few seconds into the flight, the fins appear to warp and distort.’
      • ‘The wooden floor beneath Lord Anuru began to twist and distort, as well as the walls and the ceiling which was now nigh gone.’
      • ‘In addition, all cotton fabric may shrink or otherwise distort out of its desired shape & size.’
      • ‘It was gnarled like a tree branch, twisting and distorting in places.’
      • ‘It twisted in sickening slow motion, distorting out of shape.’
      • ‘This prevents the panel from warping or distorting without limiting its natural movement.’
  • 2Give a misleading or false account or impression of.

    ‘many factors can distort the results’
    • ‘Concerning the single tax, Tucker may have deliberately distorted its meaning.’
    • ‘By taking this stand they are choosing to deliberately distort my views.’
    • ‘In addition, the probability of the results being distorted by confounding factors has not been adequately addressed.’
    • ‘In fact the corporate media have consistently distorted the truth in exactly this way for many years.’
    • ‘The media, he said, often distorts what young people say and do.’
    • ‘The administration grossly distorted intelligence to make that case.’
    • ‘I think that those who criticise me have distorted what I said in the article.’
    • ‘The film explains the concept of market-to-market accounting which hugely distorted the reporting of its profits.’
    • ‘The sensationalist media coverage also paints a highly distorted picture.’
    • ‘The nature of adulation does not distort his impression of reality.’
    • ‘Consequently, these subsidies are distorting the rules of the game on the world market.’
    • ‘The change in goodwill accounting also distorts year-over-year earnings comparisons in 2002 and 2003.’
    • ‘Most political flicks, even the good ones, suffer from a seriously distorted vision of their subject.’
    • ‘The developed world should be serious about removing subsidies which distort trade and which damage the environment.’
    • ‘Such grossly distorted views of the budget are not inevitable.’
    • ‘A few newspapers did carry the story but wildly distorted the facts, greatly upsetting the brothers.’
    • ‘However, these disposals slightly distort the picture.’
    • ‘Many investors now distrust pension accounting because it distorts reported earnings.’
    • ‘Ludwig grossly distorted this history by describing Dobbs merely as a leader of the Teamsters.’
    • ‘Is it just me, or is the story here that Chris completely distorts what Clark said?’
    misrepresented, perverted, twisted, falsified, misreported, misstated
    misrepresent, pervert, twist, falsify, misreport, misstate, prejudice, manipulate, garble, quote out of context, take out of context
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  • 3Change the form of (an electrical signal or sound wave) during transmission, amplification, or other processing.

    ‘you're distorting the sound by overdriving the amp’
    • ‘The angle of the sampling optics can distort the beam.’
    • ‘Worse, it could distort electronic transmissions and knock out nuclear early-warning systems.’
    • ‘The voice had been distorted with some sort of audio device.’
    • ‘Hearing aids just amplify sounds that are distorted without the hearing device; they don't necessarily reduce the distortion.’
    • ‘Put on some headphones and twist the volume dial until it distorts beyond recognition.’
    • ‘He heard a voice, twisted and distorted, coursing to his ears.’
    • ‘These air pockets can distort the sound waves and produce an unclear image.’
    • ‘She screams at him until the volume of her voice is distorting the phone signal and he cannot comprehend a word she says.’
    • ‘The music distorted to the point just before the point of no recognition.’
    • ‘Heat made the air thick - it must be distorting the sound waves, slowing them down.’
    • ‘In this model, communication may be distorted during transmission and interpretation of the communication.’
    • ‘Having all nine members constantly yelling into distorting microphones over RZA's too-quiet beats is trying.’
    • ‘Other competitors usually use tiny speakers that tend to distort the music easily, but not Motorola.’
    • ‘The transmission would distort her voice past recognition for the moment.’
    • ‘Here the beam has been distorted by the particle.’
    • ‘Next I heard some music, but distorted in some way, maybe through the synthesizers.’
    • ‘The echoes were twisted and distorted in the enclosed tunnel.’
    • ‘Yet many of his scores make a feature of unconventional sounds - distorted electric guitar, harmonica, prepared piano.’
    • ‘Using a synthesizer, he distorted tapes of recorded speech, making the words difficult to understand.’
    • ‘The only fix is to silence the equipment, or to actively distort its signal emanations.’


Late 15th century (in the sense twist to one side): from Latin distort- twisted apart from the verb distorquere, from dis- apart + torquere to twist.