Twists and Turns: Tor

Turn your attention to these words derived from the Latin root tor, meaning "to twist and turn" and "to distort."

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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. contort
    twist and press out of shape
    She tried to smile, but the pain contorted her expression into a grimace.Schooled
  2. contorted
    twisted, especially as in pain or struggle
    And isn’t that contorted steel tube that the New York artist Wade Guyton twisted up into the air the remnant of the iconic 1920s Breuer chair?New York Times (Jun 28, 2018)
  3. contortion
    the act of twisting or deforming the shape of something
    In contortions that are reminiscent of DC’s Plastic Man or Marvel’s “Mr. Fantastic” Reed Richards, cells change from slightly irregular borders to smoothly rounded ones.Scientific American (Aug 3, 2018)
  4. contortionist
    an acrobat able to twist into unusual positions
    The Flying Fins, a grinning muscular threesome, perform flips using a seesaw; the Cycling Cylone rides a bicycle in positions you can’t imagine; and a sideshow features a contortionist called the Elastic Dislocationist.Los Angeles Times (Feb 17, 2017)
  5. distort
    make false by mutilation or addition
    Polish artist Weronika G?sicka’s work subverts the image of perfect family life in 1950s America by distorting and manipulating stock images.The Guardian (Apr 25, 2019)
  6. distorted
    so badly formed or out of shape as to be ugly
    “Why, what’s wrong with it?” said Harry, grabbing a spoon and squinting at his distorted reflection.Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  7. distortion
    the act of twisting something out of its true meaning
    The more I learned about these distortions and elisions, the more important I thought it was to assemble a fuller, more honest account of Taylor’s life.Slate (May 13, 2019)
  8. extort
    obtain by coercion or intimidation
    The police officers extorted 20,000 pesos from the family to set them free.Enrique's Journey
  9. extortion
    the crime of exacting money, as by threats
    Now, a wealthy Czech investor is suing the company and alleging extortion, saying it was hired to force him to pay $23 million to an Eastern European nemesis.Los Angeles Times (Oct 22, 2018)
  10. extortionate
    greatly exceeding bounds of reason or moderation
    A church treasurer said she was shocked by the extortionate cost of her mother's funeral - and immediately saved hundreds of pounds by searching for a better price.BBC (Nov 29, 2018)
  11. retort
    answer back
    “Then we’re not at liberty to say what happened to them,” Bobby Gene retorted.The Season of Styx Malone
  12. torque
    a twisting force
    “We concluded that the Milky Way’s warped spiral pattern is most likely caused by ‘ torques’ – or rotational forcing – by the massive inner disk,” says Liu Chao, senior researcher and co-author of the paper.Fox News (Feb 6, 2019)
  13. torsion
    a twisting force
    The torsion on the clamp snapped the strong composite like a brittle twig.The Martian
  14. tort
    a wrongdoing for which an action for damages may be brought
    In civil cases, like contracts or torts, there are statutes of limitations for a plaintiff to start a lawsuit.Slate (Dec 11, 2018)
  15. tortious
    of or pertaining to a wrong committed against another
    SolarCity sued Salt River Project in Arizona District Court, accusing the utility of “anticompetitive and tortious conduct designed to eliminate solar competition.”Seattle Times (Mar 6, 2018)
  16. tortuous
    highly complex or intricate and occasionally devious
    “They want to see this resolved,” Mrs. May told Parliament, referring to the tortuous, tedious, yet momentous task of withdrawing from the European Union, a process known as Brexit.New York Times (Mar 8, 2019)
  17. torture
    subject to intense feelings of suffering
    Pax trained his nose to the humans’ camp, which, as always, tortured him with its rich food scents.Pax
  18. torturous
    extremely painful or unpleasant
    Over the next eleven months, he was transferred from one Moscow prison to another, held in increasingly foul and torturous conditions.The New Yorker (Aug 13, 2018)
Created on May 3, 2019 (updated July 15, 2019)

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