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Contortion   /kəntˈɔrʃən/   Listen
Contortion

noun
1.
The act of twisting or deforming the shape of something (e.g., yourself).  Synonym: deformation.
2.
A tortuous and twisted shape or position.  Synonyms: crookedness, torsion, tortuosity, tortuousness.  "The acrobat performed incredible contortions"



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"Contortion" Quotes from Famous Books



... examine the fetters, learning, as I had anticipated, that they fastened with a lock. I sat gazing at the steel bracelets in the light of the lamp which swung over my head, and it became apparent to me that I had gained little by my contortion. ...
— The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu • Sax Rohmer

... brother, and two uncles then gathered about the Negro as he lay fastened to the torture platform and thrust hot irons into his quivering flesh. It was horrible—the man dying by slow torture in the midst of smoke from his own burning flesh. Every groan from the fiend, every contortion of his body was cheered by the thickly packed crowd of 10,000 persons. The mass of beings 600 yards in diameter, the scaffold being the center. After burning the feet and legs, the hot irons—plenty of fresh ones being at hand—were rolled up and ...
— The Red Record - Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States • Ida B. Wells-Barnett

... distressing truth, termed counter. "Counter" it is with a vengeance; and not only so, but it is a neck-and-neck race between them and the urchins aforesaid, which shall have done first. The shock-headed man, with chin dropped into his neckerchief, and mouth twisted into every unimaginable contortion, as though grinning through a horse-collar, has the bass confided to his faithful keeping; and emits a variety of growls and groans truly appalling, though evidently to his own great comfort and satisfaction. The bassoon, the clarinet, the flute—but how shall we describe them! ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 54, No. 338, December 1843 • Various

... self-command with which they looked the present in the face. She had to be content with saying:—"Of course we know nothing of the intentions of Providence. But it's no use pretending that it would not feel very—queer." She had to clothe this word with a special emphasis, and backed it with an implied contortion due to teeth set on edge. She added:—"All I know is, I'm very glad it wasn't me." After which she was clearly not responsible if the ...
— When Ghost Meets Ghost • William Frend De Morgan

... legs and violently clutched each other by any part of the body on which they could get a grip. Before the astounded gaze of the onlookers they swayed, nearly fell, then went round in circles, at the same time executing every sort of conceivable contortion. ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156, May 7, 1919. • Various

... had been placed upon a diet of squab broth, none of the flesh, just the broth—Alfred quietly arose and, with the aid of the big looking glass, (mirrors had not been discovered as yet, in Brownsville), and a contortion feat such as he had never attempted previously, he scanned the bruised parts. Lin's worst fears seemed confirmed; all his person reflected in the looking glass was black as ink, as he ...
— Watch Yourself Go By • Al. G. Field

... [Irregularity of form.] Distortion. — N. distortion, detortion[obs3], contortion; twist, crookedness &c. (obliquity) 217; grimace; deformity; malformation, malconformation[obs3]; harelip; monstrosity, misproportion[obs3], want of symmetry, anamorphosis[obs3]; ugliness &c. 846; talipes[obs3]; teratology. asymmetry; irregularity. V. distort, contort, twist, ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... more about her?' The man rubbed his coarse beard down upon his collar, and clanked his chains, and made guttural sounds to his horses, which possibly explained to them the meaning he did not verbally express. Then he looked up and made a facial contortion, which clearly meant that there was more to be said concerning Jen if any one could be found brave enough ...
— A Dozen Ways Of Love • Lily Dougall

... "and most conclusive." He passed the objects on to the foreman, and there was an interval of silence while the jury examined them with breathless interest and much facial contortion. ...
— John Thorndyke's Cases • R. Austin Freeman

... strangely, a most inexplicable contortion. His little rat eyes focused on the ranchero, and he drew back in a sort of fear. Convoy her whom people called Jacqueline through the lawless Huasteca, at the bidding of this man! "No, no, no!" he ...
— The Missourian • Eugene P. (Eugene Percy) Lyle

... had it from yourself, of course," she added with an aggrieved contortion of her features, "but as I was just telling Angela, I would not for worlds intrude ...
— The Wheel of Life • Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow

... into a semicircular, or rather elliptical form, above the junction of the eyebrows. I had heard such a look described in an old tale of DIABLERIE, which it was my chance to be entertained with not long since; when this deep and gloomy contortion of the frontal muscles was not unaptly described as forming the representation ...
— Redgauntlet • Sir Walter Scott

... noisy grief from Mrs. Almayer checked the flow of Mahmat's eloquence. Almayer, bewildered, looked in turn at his wife, at Mahmat, at Babalatchi, and at last arrested his fascinated gaze on the body lying on the mud with covered face in a grotesquely unnatural contortion of mangled and broken limbs, one twisted and lacerated arm, with white bones protruding in many places through the torn flesh, stretched out; the hand with outspread fingers nearly ...
— Almayer's Folly - A Story of an Eastern River • Joseph Conrad

... spasm seemed to run through him, a horrible boneless contortion of limbs and body, a slippery, twitching movement, a repulsive though almost inaudible clicking of rehabilitated ...
— The Miracle Man • Frank L. Packard

... fur overcoat belonged to him. Theodore requested to be shown immediately to the stranger's room. Alone, helpless, speechless, in the dingiest and most comfortless of rooms, he found Mr. Hastings! He went forward with eager, pitying haste, and spoke to the poor man—no answer, only a pitiful contortion of the face, and a hopeless attempt to raise the useless hand. Clearly there was work enough for the next three hours! With the promptness, not only natural in him, but added to by long habit, Theodore went to work. Under his orders the room assumed very speedily a different aspect; the attending ...
— Three People • Pansy

... formed by this promontory is of great magnitude. There are several islands at its mouth and in the interior, but there being no chart, and no motive for entering it, we stood on towards the mountains on the main shore, some of which are very high. In many parts the contortion of the strata, and the confusion of all kinds of materials, are extraordinary. The sides of the mountains on the shore are clad with moss alone, trees of very stunted growth only appearing in the sheltered valleys. No visible ...
— The Life of Thomas, Lord Cochrane, Tenth Earl of Dundonald, Vol. II • Thomas Lord Cochrane

... comedy relief in the tragic situation. They cast at one another a glance of appreciation trenching on a smile, and the abashed questioner drew out a plug of tobacco, and with a manner of preoccupation gnawed a bit from it; then replaced it in his pocket, with a physical contortion which caused the plank on which the jury were seated to creak ominously, to the manifest anxiety of ...
— The Mystery of Witch-Face Mountain and Other Stories • Charles Egbert Craddock

... earl, with a contortion of his nose and lips intended to convey unutterable scorn; "of course she refused you, when you asked her as a child would ask for an apple, or a cake! What else ...
— The Kellys and the O'Kellys • Anthony Trollope

... arms, and we watched the storm by the lightning-flashes and waited for the end. But the end came not. The galley was light, broad, and buoyant as a life-boat; at the same time it was so strongly constructed that there was scarcely any twist or contortion in the sinewy fabric. So we floated buoyantly and safely upon the summit of vast waves, and a storm that would have destroyed a ship of the European fashion scarcely injured this in the slightest degree. It was an indestructible as a raft ...
— A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder • James De Mille

... this time in the room where he had his lessons, waiting for his tutor. He was biting his nails to the quick, and twisting his little face into every kind of contortion. Geoff was now ten, and he had grown a great deal during the year,—if not so very much in stature, yet a great deal in experience. A little, a very little, and yet enough to swear by, of the wholesome discipline of ...
— A Country Gentleman and his Family • Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant

... interlocked as though his death struggle had been a grievous one. On his rigid face there stood an expression of horror, and as it seemed to me, of hatred, such as I have never seen upon human features. This malignant and terrible contortion, combined with the low forehead, blunt nose, and prognathous jaw gave the dead man a singularly simious and ape-like appearance, which was increased by his writhing, unnatural posture. I have seen death in many forms, but never has ...
— A Study In Scarlet • Arthur Conan Doyle

... in the forests, Leviathan in the deep, and Typhon in the sewer. You surpass everything. There is the trace of lightning in your deformity; your face has been battered by the thunderbolt. The jagged contortion of forked lightning has imprinted its mark on your face. It struck you and passed on. A mighty and mysterious wrath has, in a fit of passion, cemented your spirit in a terrible and superhuman form. Hell is a penal furnace, where the iron ...
— The Man Who Laughs • Victor Hugo

... head of the house of Russell himself helped his guest to a glass of this choice wine, and de Grammont, on tasting it, declared it to be excellent. The Duke of Bedford, anxious to judge of its quality, poured out a glass, which no sooner approached his lips than, with a horrible contortion, he exclaimed: 'Why, what on earth is this?' The butler approached, took the bottle and applied it to his nostrils, and, to the dismay of his master, pronounced it to be castor-oil. The Duc de Grammont had swallowed this ...
— Frost's Laws and By-Laws of American Society • Sarah Annie Frost

... policy which we are now discussing. And I do not think the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Cardwell), the noble Lord the Member for the West Riding (Viscount Goderich), and the noble Lord the Member for London, have any right to throw themselves into something like a contortion of agony with regard to the manner of this despatch; because, as was stated to the House the other night by the learned Attorney-General for Ireland, they did not tell us much about the feelings ...
— Speeches on Questions of Public Policy, Volume 1 • John Bright

... is, that laughter is childish, and unworthy the gravity of adult life. Grown men, we say, have more to do than to laugh; and the wiser sort of them leave such an unseemly contortion of the muscles to babes ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 438 - Volume 17, New Series, May 22, 1852 • Various

... by previous writers on the Moel-Tryfan deposits, Mackintosh refers to Darwin's "very suggestive description of the Moel-Tryfan deposits...Under the drift he saw that the surface of the slate, TO A DEPTH OF SEVERAL FEET, HAD BEEN SHATTERED AND CONTORTED IN A VERY PECULIAR MANNER." The contortion of the slate, which Mackintosh regarded as "the most interesting of the Moel-Tryfan phenomena," had not previously been regarded as "sufficiently striking to arrest attention" by any geologist except Darwin. The Pleistocene ...
— More Letters of Charles Darwin Volume II - Volume II (of II) • Charles Darwin

... was soft and brown, and there was a golden tinge in it that was greatly admired. There was also a depth and expression in her gray eyes that Geraldine lacked. But the charm of Audrey's face was her smile. It was no facial contortion, no mere lip service; it was a heart illumination—a sudden radiance that seemed to light up every feature, and which brought a certain lovely ...
— Lover or Friend • Rosa Nouchette Carey

... contortion, to mark the moment of dissolution. The face only grew more serene and less death-like, as the soul passed ...
— The Truce of God - A Tale of the Eleventh Century • George Henry Miles

... and the silk did wind Her fair cold form; Little availed the shining shroud, Though ruddy in hue, to cheer or warm. A watcher looked upon her low, and said— She sleeps, but sleeps, she is not dead. But in that sleep contortion showed The terror of the vision there— A silent vision unavowed, Revealing earth's foundation bare, And Gorgon in her hidden place. It was a thing of fear to see So foul a dream upon so fair a face, And the dreamer lying in ...
— Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War • Herman Melville

... he must have reddened, pictorically and scientifically speaking, six whole tints and a half, if not a full octave above his natural colour:—any man, Madam, but my uncle Toby, who had observed this, together with the violent knitting of my father's brows, and the extravagant contortion of his body during the whole affair,—would have concluded my father in a rage; and taking that for granted,—had he been a lover of such kind of concord as arises from two such instruments being put in exact tune,—he would instantly have skrew'd ...
— The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman • Laurence Sterne

... being afraid of making a fool of himself he passed on. Fletcher, who was standing only a few numbers away, smiled at Peter's remark. The S.M. spotted him, and shouted, 'What are you grinning at—anything foonny?' Fletcher said, 'No, sir,' and straightened his face with a wry contortion. The S.M. shouted to the Orderly Sergeant: 'Take this man's name.' Fletcher was up before the C.O. in the evening and got three days for laughing in the ranks. I'm sure Peter'll get into trouble before long. He did the same ...
— Combed Out • Fritz August Voigt

... told," said he, with a queer contortion of his face. "The property of the deceased would go to ...
— Allison Bain - By a Way she knew not • Margaret Murray Robertson

... assign those countless bronzes where dragons and flowers and the stock symbols of happiness, good luck and longevity sprawl together in interminable convolutions. When once we reach this stage of contortion, of elaborate pierced and relief work, we come to the place in history of Chinese bronzes where serious study may cease, except in so far as the study of the symbols themselves throws light upon the history of Chinese procelain (see CERAMICS). One class of bronze alone needs a word ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 6, Slice 2 - "Chicago, University of" to "Chiton" • Various

... lay on!" said the Countess, with a contortion of her lips which appeared to do duty for ...
— A Forgotten Hero - Not for Him • Emily Sarah Holt

... woman about fifty, who had once been handsome. Sorrow and weeping had left traces upon them which not time itself would ever have produced without their aid; her face was deadly pale; and there was a nervous contortion of the lip, and an unnatural fire in her eye, which showed too plainly that her bodily and mental powers had nearly sunk, beneath an accumulation ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... on Karl's part, as Frau Schmidt, with the same extraordinary contortion of the mouth—half smile, half sneer—brought Sigmund to his father, to say good-night. That process over, he was brought to me, and then, as if it were a matter which "understood itself," to Karl. Eugen and I, like family men, as we were, had gone through the ceremony with willing grace. Karl ...
— The First Violin - A Novel • Jessie Fothergill

... that is not natural, or has any thing of stiffness, constraint, or affectation, is instinctively perceived by the spectator. The body must constantly preserve its proper position, without the least contortion, well adjusted to the steps; while the motion of the arms, must be agreeable to that of the legs, and the head to be in concert with ...
— A Treatise on the Art of Dancing • Giovanni-Andrea Gallini

... from home, he ostensibly hugged it to his shirt-front and, repairing to a corner, read it furtively with the pink morocco case before him. Afterward he would execute a double shuffle across the room, whistle a hilarious strain, and give every facial contortion which could express a lover's joy, while Snorky squirmed and scowled and pretended not to notice. Snorky in turn retaliated by writing long letters after hours by the light of a single candle, ruffling up his hair and breathing ...
— Skippy Bedelle - His Sentimental Progress From the Urchin to the Complete - Man of the World • Owen Johnson

... with his tools and his nails, till he made us all as neat and as flat as a schoolroom bench. And see the results of his workmanship! A few rebels, like Herscher, who, from hatred of the conventional, go for exaggeration and ugliness, or like myself, who, thanks to that old ass, love roughness and contortion so much, that my sculpture, they say, is "like a bag of walnuts." And the rest of ...
— The Immortal - Or, One Of The "Forty." (L'immortel) - 1877 • Alphonse Daudet

... antiquity, before nervous attacks which are violent, before the Pyrrhic dance of married life! Oh! how many hopes for a lover are there in the vivacity of those convulsive movements, in the fire of those glances, in the strength of those limbs, beautiful even in contortion! It is then that a woman is carried away like an impetuous wind, darts forth like the flames of a conflagration, exhibits a movement like a billow which glides over the white pebbles. She is overcome with excess of love, she sees the future, she is the seer who prophesies, but above all, she sees ...
— The Physiology of Marriage, Part III. • Honore de Balzac

... indescribable flavor about it, only to be explained on the supposition that the ice had been frozen dish-water. Ben's taste had not been educated up to that point which would enable him to relish it. He laid it down with an involuntary contortion of the face. ...
— Ben, the Luggage Boy; - or, Among the Wharves • Horatio Alger

... phantom that had dispossessed her in his fancy. Unconsciously when he saw her, he transferred the shame that devoured him, from him to her, and gazed coldly at the face that could twist to that despicable contortion. ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... he, too, in spite of old Nan's protestations and entreaties, had become a confirmed swearer. It had really grown into so fixed a habit that the words meant nothing: it was no more than a trick of physical contortion of which a man may be utterly unconscious. How to break himself of this ...
— Hetty's Strange History • Helen Jackson

... deer-stalker, he ascended, still on his hands and knees. I strained my eyes after his every motion. But when he was near the top he lay perfectly quiet, and continued so till I could bear it no longer, and crept up after him. When I came behind him, he looked round angrily, and made a most emphatic contortion of his face; after which I dared not climb to a level with him, but lay trembling with expectation. The next moment I heard him call in ...
— Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood • George MacDonald

... give a clearer idea of what I am seeking to convey if I suggest a concrete image for the whole world of a man's thought and knowledge. Imagine a large clear jelly, in which at all angles and in all states of simplicity or contortion his ideas are imbedded. They are all valid and possible ideas as they lie, none incompatible with any. If you imagine the direction of up or down in this clear jelly being as it were the direction in which one ...
— First and Last Things • H. G. Wells

... measure. He laughed so much over the poor fellow's abortive attempt to say "Am I not a man and a brother?" that his three scholars burst out into a second edition of shouts of laughter at the sight of him, and thus succeeded in waking Robin, who, after a great contortion, sat up on the grass, and, rubbing his eyes, demanded in an injured tone what was ...
— Magnum Bonum • Charlotte M. Yonge

... application to the drawing of the figure, made the difficulties of foreshortening and the delineation of brusque attitude mere child's play to this audacious genius. The most rapid movement, the most perilous contortion of bodies falling through the air or flying, he depicted with hard, firmly-traced, unerring outline. If we dare to criticise the productions of a master so original and so accomplished, all we can say is that Signorelli revelled almost too wantonly in the display ...
— Renaissance in Italy Vol. 3 - The Fine Arts • John Addington Symonds

... artist will avail him little in his attempt to conceal the defect; because, in order to hide it, he must contract the skin, bring down the upper feathers and shove in the lower ones, which would throw all the surrounding parts into contortion. ...
— Practical Taxidermy • Montagu Browne

... of Cupid. Shortly afterwards he found his way to Drury Lane, where the handsome baby—for he was little more—figured among the imps in the pantomime. Taught here the tricks of the acrobat, he had at four years old acquired such powers of contortion that he was fit to rank as an infant phenomenon. But the usual result followed: the little limbs became deformed, and had to be put in irons, by means of which they regained that symmetry with which nature had at first endowed them. Three years ...
— The Drama • Henry Irving

... indescribable contortion of his figure, charitably supposed to be intended for a ...
— Holiday Tales • Florence Wilford

... looked down at the delicate little hand, up into the pleading eyes, and over her set square face there passed a contortion,—there is really no other word to describe it,—a contortion of unwilling amusement. The chin dropped, the lips twitched, the red lines which did duty for eyebrows wrinkled towards the nose. Similarly affected, an Irishwoman would have invoked all the saints in her calendar, and rained ...
— Big Game - A Story for Girls • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... individually, safe? resolving itself into two emotions only, doubt and despair—all diversities of character, all kindred sympathies annihilated under their pressure—those emotions uttering themselves, not through the face but the form, by bodily contortion, rendering the whole composition, with all its overwhelming merits, a mighty hubbub—Orcagna's on the contrary embraces the whole world of passions that make up the economy of man, and these not confused or ...
— On the Old Road Vol. 1 (of 2) - A Collection of Miscellaneous Essays and Articles on Art and Literature • John Ruskin

... suddenly remembered. For a few moments he stood irresolute, and then, with an extraordinary contortion of visage, dropped into his chair again and sat ...
— Dialstone Lane, Complete • W.W. Jacobs

... neither ever had done, nor ever could do any thing to entitle him to claim distinction of any sort. The young Coxcomb who next entered, was a direct contrast to the last applicant, both in person and manner. Approaching with a fashionable contortion, he stretched out his lady-like hand, and in the most languid and affected tone imaginable, inquired for The Idler. "That, Sir," said Margin, "is amongst the works we have unhappily lost, but you will be sure to meet with it at any of the fashionable libraries in the neighbourhood of Bond Street ...
— Real Life In London, Volumes I. and II. • Pierce Egan

... squatting on its haunches, and deep in fascinations of teaching an outsider its language. The uncouth mispronunciations tickled the old men beyond description, and they kept me gurgling at difficult gutturals, until, convulsed at the contortion of everyday words and phrases, they echoed Dan's opinion in queer pidgin-English that the "missus needed a deal of education." Jimmy gradually became loftily condescending, and as for old Nellie, she had never ...
— We of the Never-Never • Jeanie "Mrs. Aeneas" Gunn

... God and the devil, had I dreamed—" The low-muttered words trailed off and were bitten into silence, while, by a fierce contortion of the muscles, Michael straightened his face into a semblance of calm. But the hands hanging at his sides were clinched till the nails pierced his palms, and the veins started out, knotted and purple, from ...
— The Genius • Margaret Horton Potter

... fall, his body inert and relaxed. But he knew through it all that from somewhere above there was shrieking of gas—blue, roaring fires—a flame that tore blastingly into a writhing contortion beyond. ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, June, 1930 • Various

... time they sat there, now dozing by the stove, and anon starting up as some unusually weird contortion on the part of the boat gave them the impression that the end had come, and they were about to be tossed into ...
— The House Boat Boys • St. George Rathborne

... it not perfect response to his parents? thorough oneness with them? A child at strife with his parents, one in whom their will is not his, is no child; as a child he is dead, and his death is manifest in rigidity and contortion. His spiritual order is on the way to chaos. Disintegration has begun. Death is at work in him. See the same child yielding to the will that is righteously above his own; see the life begin to flow from ...
— Unspoken Sermons - Series I., II., and II. • George MacDonald

... were sending messages mainly by means of the smoke issuing from their dusky lips. It was puffed forth, in every variety of manner, sometimes with little short jets, then with longer ones, then from one corner of the mouth and again from the other, all being accompanied by a contortion of the flexible lips which doubtless suggested some of the words in the ...
— The Lost Trail - I • Edward S. Ellis

... higher, and turned the palms of his hands outwards with a glance indescribably comical)—"crackers with paper prodigies, crackers with sweetmeats—such sweetmeats!" He smacked his lips with a grotesque contortion, and looked at Master McGreedy, who choked himself with his last raisin, and forthwith burst ...
— The Brownies and Other Tales • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... a hair of your head," Thorn ran on, following a vein which seemed to amuse him, for he smiled, a horrible, face-drawing contortion of a smile, "for if you and me ever had a fallin' out over money I might git so hard up I couldn't travel, and one of them sheriff fellers might slip ...
— The Rustler of Wind River • G. W. Ogden

... and forthwith begins to build a home, which is nothing more than a calcareous tube, superficially resembling a corpulent worm, instantaneously petrified while in the act of a more or less elaborate wriggle or fantastic contortion. In this complicated tunnel the creature resides, presenting a lovely circular disc of glowing pink as its front door. A few inches beneath the water this operculum or lid is not unlike a pearl, but as you gaze upon it, it slips ...
— The Confessions of a Beachcomber • E J Banfield

... Dulcie had been extremely well brought up, I regret to say that the only answer she chose to make to this appeal was that slight contortion of the features, which with a pretty girl is euphemised as a "moue," and with a plain one is called "making a face." When he saw it he knew that all hope of changing her purpose must ...
— Vice Versa - or A Lesson to Fathers • F. Anstey

... don't know what hard labor is if you have never been there. I had a spell once. There is neither air nor light; your blood boils in your veins from the fervent heat; you are never allowed to rest. You are put in every kind of contortion to get at it, your limbs twisted, ...
— The Little Pilgrim: Further Experiences. - Stories of the Seen and the Unseen. • Margaret O. (Wilson) Oliphant

... from the smooth stagnant surface tinged his face with the greenish shades of Correggio's nudes. Staves of sunlight slanted down through the still pool, lighting it up with wonderful distinctness. Hundreds of thousands of minute living creatures sported and tumbled in its depth with every contortion that gaiety could suggest; perfectly happy, though consisting only of a head, or a tail, or at most a head and a tail, and all doomed to die within the ...
— Desperate Remedies • Thomas Hardy

... river bank, in every attitude and contortion of the death agony, were some dozen prostrate forms of men, women, and children, all dead and still. It seemed as though they must have crawled forth from the houses when the terrible fever thirst was upon them, and dragging themselves down to the water's edge, had ...
— In the Days of Chivalry • Evelyn Everett-Green

... opened a hole in the wire-work Across it, and dropped there a firework, And fled: one's heart's beating redoubled; A pause, while the pit's mouth was troubled, The blackness and silence so utter, By the firework's slow sparkling and sputter; Then earth in a sudden contortion Gave out to our gaze her abortion. Such a brute! Were I friend Clement Marot (Whose experience of nature's but narrow, And whose faculties move in no small mist When he versifies David the Psalmist) I should study that brute to describe you Illum Juda ...
— Robert Browning: How To Know Him • William Lyon Phelps

... excited little group around the burdock, as The Seraph, flushed with pride, deposited her beside the lonely Charles. She glided toward him. She touched him. The effect was electrical. Charles Augustus, after one violent contortion, hurled himself from the burdock, and, before we could intercept him, disappeared into a bristling ...
— Explorers of the Dawn • Mazo de la Roche

... a fresh quid of tobacco from the plug he carried in his pocket, and there was a brief pause before he answered. Then, as he carefully wiped the blade of his knife on the leg of his blue jean overalls, he looked up with a curious facial contortion. ...
— The Deliverance; A Romance of the Virginia Tobacco Fields • Ellen Glasgow

... resent it or join in the laugh too. There was something about the older woman, however, which aroused in girls a sense of camaraderie rather than reserve, though Juno had never quite been able to analyze it. She smiled, and by some form of contortion of which necessity and long practice had made her a passed mistress, contrived to get herself ...
— Peggy Stewart at School • Gabrielle E. Jackson

... I've changed the size of my collars three times in a month and the new ones are too tight already." He laughed—as he had spoken—in a thick, muffled voice and I made shift to produce some sort of smile in response to his hideous facial contortion. ...
— The Uttermost Farthing - A Savant's Vendetta • R. Austin Freeman

... study she bestowed on its selection. The tall bay horses had been flicked at least a hundred times to make them stand out and show themselves, in the form London coachmen think so imposing to passers-by. The footman had yawned as often, expressing with each contortion an excessive longing for beer. Many street boys had lavished their criticisms, favourable and otherwise, on the wheels, the panels, the varnish, the driver's wig, and that dignitary's legs, whom they had ...
— M. or N. "Similia similibus curantur." • G.J. Whyte-Melville

... other's face. 'Love you!' she repeated, looking up at him, speaking in a very low voice, but yet, oh so clearly, so that not a fraction of a sound was lost to his ears, with no special emotion in her face, with no contortion, no grimace, but with her eyes fixed upon his. 'How should it be possible that I should not love you? For two months we have been together as people seldom are in the world,—as they never can be without hating each other or loving each other thoroughly. You have been very good to me who am all ...
— John Caldigate • Anthony Trollope

... my number," said the ward-heeler, in a convict whisper which was little more than a facial contortion. "There's a couple o' bulls waitin' f'r ...
— The Honorable Senator Sage-Brush • Francis Lynde

... female named Sutchnimia, and she had been introduced to my notice as infallible, her character as usual being well supported by her mahout; but no sooner did this heroic beast descry the tiger, than she twisted herself into every possible contortion, throwing herself about in the most aimless attitudes, with a vigour that threatened the safety of the howdah and severely taxed the strength ...
— Wild Beasts and their Ways • Sir Samuel W. Baker



Words linked to "Contortion" :   change of shape, contort, distorted shape, crookedness, distortion



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