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[kuh n-tawr-shuh-nist] /kənˈtɔr ʃə nɪst/
a person who performs gymnastic feats involving contorted postures.
a person who practices contortion:
a verbal contortionist.
Origin of contortionist
First recorded in 1855-60; contortion + -ist
Related forms
contortionistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for contortionist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For there, standing in the center of the room was the contortionist, "limbering up."

    Continuous Vaudeville Will M. Cressy
  • It is not necessary to be a contortionist, nor will it answer to be an ossified freak.

    Riding and Driving Edward L. Anderson
  • In addition to my training as contortionist I was being trained as gymnast.

    The Autobiography of a Clown Isaac Frederick Marcosson
  • This stranger was a contortionist, there could be no question about that now.

    White Fire Roy J. Snell
  • He hoped that, by this time, they had succeeded in shaking the contortionist off their trail.

    White Fire Roy J. Snell
  • Some Japanese acrobats and a Swedish contortionist completed the performance.

    The A.E.F. Heywood Broun
  • Eden stared at her friend with the astonishment of a gomeril at a contortionist.

    Eden Edgar Saltus
  • A forger and a contortionist make a bad customer to reckon with.

    The Red Seal Natalie Sumner Lincoln
  • You stood on the seat at the back of the Promenade to see a contortionist girl better, and then you jumped down.

    The Pretty Lady

    Arnold E. Bennett
British Dictionary definitions for contortionist


a performer who contorts his body for the entertainment of others
a person who twists or warps meaning or thoughts: a verbal contortionist
Derived Forms
contortionistic, 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 contortionist

1841, from contortion + -ist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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