[kuh n-tawr-tid]


twisted in a violent manner; distorted.
twisted back on itself; convoluted.

Origin of contorted

First recorded in 1615–25; contort + -ed2
Related formscon·tort·ed·ly, adverbcon·tort·ed·ness, nounin·ter·con·tort·ed, adjectiveun·con·tort·ed, adjectiveun·con·tort·ed·ly, adverb


[kuh n-tawrt]

verb (used with object)

to twist, bend, or draw out of shape; distort.

verb (used without object)

to become twisted, distorted, or strained: His face contorted into a grotesque sneer.

Origin of contort

1555–65; < Latin contortus twisted together, past participle of contorquēre. See con-, tort Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for contorted

Contemporary Examples of contorted

Historical Examples of contorted

  • The pink plump face was contorted in a furtive grimace of deprecation.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • The balloons were strained, contorted out of all proportion in their eagerness.

    Life Sentence

    James McConnell

  • I had expected to see it discomposed, contorted, despairing.


    Joseph Conrad

  • His face was contorted with devilish triumph, and I knew he meant to kill.

    The Trail of '98

    Robert W. Service

  • Foliage should always be studied at its prime, never when it is dried and contorted in its forms.


    George Jack

British Dictionary definitions for contorted



twisted out of shape
(esp of petals and sepals in a bud) twisted so that they overlap on one side
Derived Formscontortedly, adverbcontortedness, noun



to twist or bend severely out of place or shape, esp in a strained manner
Derived Formscontortive, adjective

Word Origin for contort

C15: from Latin contortus intricate, obscure, from contorquēre to whirl around, from torquēre to twist, wrench
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

Word Origin and History for contorted



early 15c., from Latin contortus, past participle of contorquere "to whirl, twist together," from com- "together" or intensive (see com-) + torquere "to twist" (see thwart). Related: Contorted; contorting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper