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[kuh n-tawr-shuh n] /kənˈtɔr ʃən/
the act or process of contorting.
the state of being contorted.
a contorted position.
something contorted or twisted, as in position or meaning:
His account of the incident was a complete contortion of fact.
Origin of contortion
1605-15; < Latin contortiōn- (stem of contortiō) a whirling around. See contort, -ion
Related forms
contortional, adjective
contortioned, adjective
uncontortioned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for contortion
Historical Examples
  • A smile is sometimes bewitching, in general vapid, often a contortion.

    Tancred Benjamin Disraeli
  • "Can't raise the other one," said the citizen, with a contortion of his lineaments.

    Sixes and Sevens

    O. Henry
  • Every mouth that was not making a contortion was emitting yells.

  • A Feat in contortion: To make both ends meet on $8 per week.

  • I had been a good balancer in my contortion days, and this was also an asset.

    The Autobiography of a Clown Isaac Frederick Marcosson
  • Do you see there is a slight, but distinct, contortion of the face, just as there was after that fit?

    The Lost Heir G. A. Henty
  • They were in every kind of shape and contortion that could indicate a violent death.

    Campaign of the Indus T.W.E. Holdsworth
  • Her laugh consisted of a contortion of the face and all the muscles of the body.

  • The uglier the contortion and more frightful the grimace, the louder they laughed.

    Big Brother Annie Fellows-Johnston
  • The fixity continues, and is only deepened into contortion and grimace.

British Dictionary definitions for contortion


the act or process of contorting or the state of being contorted
a twisted shape or position
something twisted or out of the ordinary in character, meaning, etc: mental contortions
Derived Forms
contortional, adjective
contortioned, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for contortion

early 15c., from Middle French contorsion or directly from Latin contortionem (nominative contorsio), noun of action from past participle stem of contorquere (see contort).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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