[tawr-shuh n]
See more synonyms for torsion on
  1. the act of twisting.
  2. the state of being twisted.
  3. Mechanics.
    1. the twisting of a body by two equal and opposite torques.
    2. the internal torque so produced.
  4. Mathematics.
    1. the degree of departure of a curve from a plane.
    2. a number measuring this.

Origin of torsion

1375–1425; 1535–45 for def 1; late Middle English torcion wringing one's bowels < Old French torsion < Late Latin torsiōn- (stem of torsiō) torment, equivalent to tors(us) twisted (see torse) + -iōn- -ion
Related formstor·sion·al, adjectivetor·sion·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for torsion

Historical Examples of torsion

British Dictionary definitions for torsion


    1. the twisting of a part by application of equal and opposite torques at either end
    2. the condition of twist and shear stress produced by a torque on a part or component
  1. the act of twisting or the state of being twisted
Derived Formstorsional, adjectivetorsionally, adverb

Word Origin for torsion

C15: from Old French, from medical Latin torsiō griping pains, from Latin torquēre to twist, torture
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 torsion

early 15c., "wringing pain in the bowels," from Old French torsion (early 14c.), from Late Latin torsionem (nominative torsio) "a wringing or gripping," from Latin tortionem (nominative tortio) "torture, torment," noun of action from past participle stem of torquere "to twist" (see thwart). Meaning "action or process of twisting as by opposing forces" is first recorded 1540s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

torsion in Medicine


  1. A twisting or rotation of a part on its long axis.
  2. Twisting of the cut end of an artery to arrest hemorrhage.
  3. Ocular rotation around the anteroposterior axis.
Related formstorsion•al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

torsion in Science


  1. The stress on an object when torque is applied to it.
  2. A mathematical operation in geometry measuring how tightly a plane is twisted.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.