[ dih-stawr-shuh n ]
/ dɪˈstɔr ʃən /


an act or instance of distorting.
the state of being distorted or the relative degree or amount by which something is distorted or distorts.
anything that is distorted, as a sound, image, fact, etc.
Optics. an aberration of a lens or system of lenses in which the magnification of the object varies with the lateral distance from the axis of the lens.


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Origin of distortion

First recorded in 1575–85, distortion is from the Latin word distortiōn- (stem of distortiō). See distort, -ion


dis·tor·tion·al, dis·tor·tion·ar·y, adjectivenon·dis·tor·tion, nouno·ver·dis·tor·tion, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for distortionary

/ (dɪˈstɔːʃən) /


the act or an instance of distorting or the state of being distorted
something that is distorted
an aberration of a lens or optical system in which the magnification varies with the lateral distance from the axis
  1. an undesired change in the shape of an electromagnetic wave or signal
  2. the result of such a change in waveform, esp a loss of clarity in radio reception or sound reproduction
psychol a change in perception so that it does not correspond to reality
psychoanal the disguising of the meaning of unconscious thoughts so that they may appear in consciousness, e.g. in dreams

Derived forms of distortion

distortional, 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

Medical definitions for distortionary

[ dĭ-stôrshən ]


A twisting out of normal shape or form.
A psychological defense mechanism that helps to repress or disguise unacceptable thoughts.
Parataxic distortion.

Other words from distortion

dis•tortion•al null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.