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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.
1855-60; contortion + -ist
Related forms
contortionistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for contortionist
  • Spinners need a contortionist's fingers, not the athleticism of a fast bowler, which is why it has thrown up some unlikely heroes.
  • The bathrooms were so small you had to be a contortionist to sit on the toilet.
  • Clearing the bar is accomplished by contortionist moves to go over the bar higher than the cg ever gets.
  • And not even my sister's subsequent marriage to a rather talented contortionist has managed to blot that occasion from my memory.
  • One night, you might be served by a former contortionist, the next by a graduate student in clinical psychology.
  • The still head of a contortionist stares at you as the rest of her charismatic body goes for a walk.
  • Take the caterpillar--it can squirm and crawl in ways that would make a contortionist green with envy.
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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