• WordNet 3.6
    • n contortion the act of twisting or deforming the shape of something (e.g., yourself)
    • n contortion a tortuous and twisted shape or position "they built a tree house in the tortuosities of its boughs","the acrobat performed incredible contortions"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Contortion kŏn*tô"shŭn A twisting; a writhing; wry motion; a twist; as, the contortion of the muscles of the face. "All the contortions of the sibyl, without the inspiration."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n contortion 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.
    • n contortion In surgery, a twisting or wresting of a limb or member of the body out of its natural situation; partial dislocation.
    • n contortion In vegetable teratol., an irregular twisting or bending of the stems or branches of plants, due to various causes, usually accidental.
    • n contortion In geology, the disordered attitude of irregularly folded stratified rocks.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Contortion a violent twisting
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. contortio,: cf. F. contorsion,. See Contort, and cf. Torsion
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. con, inten., and torquēre, tortum, to twist.


In literature:

His face contorted in a spasm of voiceless suffering, and he drew a stiff hand down either arm.
"The Three Black Pennys" by Joseph Hergesheimer
His black eyes opened widely and his face became contorted with agony.
"The Green Eyes of Bâst" by Sax Rohmer
Swartzman recited Poe's Black Cat, with gestures and facial contortions that were terrifying.
"Tramping on Life" by Harry Kemp
And Karna betrayed no contortions of face while peeling his mail.
"The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1"
There can have been few negotiations in history so contorted, so miserable, so utterly unsatisfactory to all parties.
"The Economic Consequences of the Peace" by John Maynard Keynes
The fixity continues, and is only deepened into contortion and grimace.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 13, No. 76, February, 1864" by Various
Opposite him, against the hand-rails, some young fellows went into contortions, as if somebody had been tickling them.
"His Masterpiece" by Emile Zola
They laughed and yelled, and sprang about with frightful contortions.
"French and English" by Evelyn Everett-Green
On seeing him the captain started up and with many contortions struggled to speak.
"Humphrey Bold" by Herbert Strang
The ugly set of his face became all the more ugly, the contorted eyes flashing, the great jaw all but simian.
"A Man's Woman" by Frank Norris

In poetry:

Sending a thrill that hurries me along
In faulty similes of childish skips,
Enthused with lithe contortions of a song
Performing on my lips.
"A Country Pathway" by James Whitcomb Riley
To warm their bodies through the cold night, up-country menials kept
a fire going
In the field-red fire like a cockscomb blossom,
Still burning, contorting dry aswattha leaves.
"The Hunt (Sikar)" by Jibanananda Das
And George! By George, he laughed, and then he howled like any bear!
The while my wife contorted like a mad convulsionnaire";
And I -- I rushed on Johnny, and I smote him hip and thigh,
And I never saw him more, nor tasted more of rabbit pie.
"My Other Chinee Cook" by James Brunton Stephens

In news:

Her familiar face—once evilly contorted and frightening—was again at rest, noble and fresh.
New York's contorted redistricting protects majorities.
Mitt Romney's contortion of the truth.
I love my job, and aside from contortion , I have all-around circus skills.
It's amazing what contortions people will endure to avoid paying a small tax.
Also present are Soutine's potent still lifes of strung-up carcasses -- images of cattle, fish and fowl famously based on Chardin and Rembrandt -- in which paint and flesh (and feathers) often form dizzyingly tangled contortions.
The Transformative Bluetooth HiFi System can be contorted into dozens of different shapes.
The sun's worst magnetic contortions typically appear over sunspots .
Inside the Walled City, even today, no one pays taxes and everyone lives and works in strange contorted buildings that defy all safety and building ordinances.
James is putting wiggles into his moves, he squirms and twirls and contorts, on and off the floor with an insect's ability to move on any surface.
Hybrid Contortions – 2nd Friday Art Walk in.
My stomach contorts like a Frank Gehry building, and I lose my tofu and bean sprout dinner to the sirens of the sea.
A few weekends ago, my drunk ass ended up on a dance floor , shaking, contorting and moon-walking between sweaty bodies.
"Hybrid Contortions" Art of the Fantastical and 3- Dimensional Curated by Braden Duncan and Zachary Sofia.
"Hybrid Contortions" Art of the Fantastical and 3-Dimensional Curated by Braden Duncan and Zachary Sofia.

In science:

The Christoffel symbol {α µν } is constructed in terms of the metric tensor gµν and its derivatives; K α µν is the contortion defined previously.
Geometrical description of spin-2 fields
The inevitable consequence of this contortion is the production of extra correlations in the dual model.
Random Cluster Models on the Triangular Lattice
The average speed of rotation depends on the chirality which, in general, increases with the contortion of the cells.
Optical tweezer for probing erythrocyte membrane deformability
The crenated cells lost their disk like symmetric shape and became fairly contorted.
Optical tweezer for probing erythrocyte membrane deformability
The contortions were lesser for the erythrocytes in media containing higher concentrations of C a++ ions (Fig. 1(c),(d)).
Optical tweezer for probing erythrocyte membrane deformability