from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In vegetable teratol., an irregular twisting or bending of the stems or branches of plants, due to various causes, usually accidental.
  • noun In geology, the disordered attitude of irregularly folded stratified rocks.
  • noun The act of twisting or wrenching, or the state of being twisted or wrenched; specifically, the act of writhing, especially spasmodically; a twist; wry motion; distortion: as, the contortion of the muscles of the face.
  • noun In surgery, a twisting or wresting of a limb or member of the body out of its natural situation; partial dislocation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A twisting; a writhing; wry motion; a twist.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The act of contorting, twisting or deforming something, especially oneself.
  • noun A form of acrobatic display which involves the dramatic bending and flexing of the human body.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the act of twisting or deforming the shape of something (e.g., yourself)
  • noun a tortuous and twisted shape or position


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Can even the supporters of the bill doubt, with a straight face, that the reason for the contortion is that the effects of deeming are different from the effects of passage.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Is the Slaughter Solution constitutional?

  • Figure skater Kimmie Meissner used a flexibility-improving device to help her perform a certain contortion involving lifting one foot backward over her head.

    Olympians use 'secret device' for improved flexibility

  • Mrs McNab could not refuse to grant a night's shelter to a tired and chilly traveller, and by to - morrow -- Margot smiled to herself, recalling the contortion of the dour

    Big Game A Story for Girls

  • Ibrahim's grimace was personal, the kind of contortion an insult brings.

    What About the Iraqis?

  • He danced back toward Bent Nose, grabbed his wrist and underwent some kind of contortion, twisting and turning as he dropped to his knees on the floor.

    Conan the Indomitable

  • My lord was smiling, so the auctioneer prattled on, and the deformed creature upon the catasta wound his ill-shapen body into every kind of contortion, grinning from ear to ear, displaying the malformation of his spine, and the hideousness of his long hairy arms, whilst he uttered weird cries that were supposed to imitate those of wild animals in the forest.

    "Unto Caesar"

  • While this was being done, and the wretch was twisting his body in every kind of contortion as he writhed under the blows, the procession by chance was following after him.

    Plutarch's Lives, Volume I

  • It seems like the last six episodes were one huge contortion just to get to the “and that planet was … EARTH!” ending.

    The babbling about the end of Battlestar Galactica…

  • Suraiya pulled her mouth and eyebrows into an expressive contortion that spelled clearly enough her views on that possibility.

    For the Sake of the Boy

  • One hand, between the pickets, seemed waving at her, and almost he seemed to wink at her jocosely, though she knew it to be the contortion of deadly pain.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.