v. con·tort·ed, con·tort·ing, con·torts
1. To twist, wrench, or bend out of proper or natural shape: fingers contorted by arthritis. See Synonyms at distort.
2. To cause to deviate from what is normal, proper, or accurate: The leaders of the movement contorted their own principles in trying to get what they wanted.
To become contorted: "Her face contorts with pain and horror, as if something deep inside her has been shattered" (Rachel Simon).
[Latin contorquēre, contort-, to twist : com-, intensive pref.; see COM- + torquēre, to twist; see terkw- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.