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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.
Origin of contortionist
1855-60; contortion + -ist
Related forms
contortionistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for contortionist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was exceedingly slim and limber and had learned many of the tricks of the contortionist.

  • In addition to my training as contortionist I was being trained as gymnast.

    The Autobiography of a Clown Isaac Frederick Marcosson
  • The contortionist had reappeared before the table, and had greeted her mistress by touching her hands to her face.

    Snnica Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • He hoped that, by this time, they had succeeded in shaking the contortionist off their trail.

    White Fire Roy J. Snell
  • Strangely enough, during the days that followed the contortionist put in no second appearance.

    White Fire Roy J. Snell
  • Some Japanese acrobats and a Swedish contortionist completed the performance.

    The A.E.F. Heywood Broun
  • This stranger was a contortionist, there could be no question about that now.

    White Fire Roy J. Snell
  • He wondered, too, how the automobile of the contortionist had happened to catch fire in the desert.

    White Fire Roy J. Snell
  • It is not necessary to be a contortionist, nor will it answer to be an ossified freak.

    Riding and Driving Edward L. Anderson
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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