verb (used with object)

to twist awry or out of shape; make crooked or deformed: Arthritis had distorted his fingers.
to give a false, perverted, or disproportionate meaning to; misrepresent: to distort the facts.
Electronics. to reproduce or amplify (a signal) inaccurately by changing the frequencies or unequally changing the delay or amplitude of the components of the output wave.

Origin of distort

1580–90; < Latin distortus (past participle of distorquēre to distort), equivalent to dis- dis-1 + tor(qu)- (stem of torquēre to twist) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsdis·tort·er, noundis·tor·tive, adjectivenon·dis·tort·ing, adjectivenon·dis·tort·ing·ly, adverbnon·dis·tor·tive, adjectiveo·ver·dis·tort, verb (used with object)un·dis·tort·ing, adjective

Synonyms for distort

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for distorting

Contemporary Examples of distorting

Historical Examples of distorting

  • See that all filling is firm but not packed in to the point of distorting the skin.


    Leon Luther Pray

  • His eyes looked at me from behind the distorting negative lenses.

    ...Or Your Money Back

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Why suppose that by distorting reality we get it in shape to affirm of reality?

  • They've been distorting the truth, and the truth is to his credit.

    The Grain Of Dust

    David Graham Phillips

  • A hell of vapour, distorting sight; a hell of sound, drowning the soul.

    The Mystery of Choice

    Robert William Chambers

British Dictionary definitions for distorting


verb (tr)

(often passive) to twist or pull out of shape; make bent or misshapen; contort; deform
to alter or misrepresent (facts, motives, etc)
electronics to reproduce or amplify (a signal) inaccurately, changing the shape of the waveform
Derived Formsdistorted, adjectivedistortedly, adverbdistortedness, noundistorter, noundistortive, adjective

Word Origin for distort

C16: from Latin distortus misshapen, from distorquēre to turn different ways, from dis- 1 + torquēre to twist
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 distorting



1580s, from Latin distortus, past participle of distorquere "to twist different ways, distort," from dis- "completely" + torquere "to twist" (see thwart). Related: Distorted; distorting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper