9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kuh n-tawrt] /kənˈtɔrt/
verb (used with object)
to twist, bend, or draw out of shape; distort.
verb (used without object)
to become twisted, distorted, or strained:
His face contorted into a grotesque sneer.
Origin of contort
1555-65; < Latin contortus twisted together, past participle of contorquēre. See con-, tort Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for contort
  • The fact that it is possible to so contort a plant is no justification for doing it.
  • Rolfers gouge with knuckles and knead with fists, contort limbs and lean into elbows to loosen tendons and ligaments.
  • After watching the party contort its policies and its principles, voters concluded it was not such a good idea.
  • But you can't contort your way through the back door, which is basically what they are trying to do.
  • The facial muscles twitch and contort, as if pummeled by a hail of invisible darts.
  • They have to really contort their minds to accept a devastating storm, that kills good people and lets bad ones survive.
  • Some fears about the cleanup were so strongly felt and so pervasive that the response had to contort itself around them.
  • Constant strong winds in alpine areas can contort the trunk and cause stunting.
  • McCoy would have us ignore this clear direction altogether, or contort its meaning beyond recognition.
  • Don't let them face you into the sun, it will contort your face and make you squint.
British Dictionary definitions for contort


to twist or bend severely out of place or shape, esp in a strained manner
Derived Forms
contortive, adjective
Word Origin
C15: from Latin contortus intricate, obscure, from contorquēre to whirl around, from torquēre to twist, wrench
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 contort

early 15c., from Latin contortus, past participle of contorquere "to whirl, twist together," from com- "together" or intensive (see com-) + torquere "to twist" (see thwart). Related: Contorted; contorting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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