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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Distortion \Dis*tor"tion\, n. [L. distortio: cf. F. distortion.]

  1. The act of distorting, or twisting out of natural or regular shape; a twisting or writhing motion; as, the distortions of the face or body.

  2. A wresting from the true meaning.
    --Bp. Wren.

  3. The state of being distorted, or twisted out of shape or out of true position; crookedness; perversion.

  4. (Med.) An unnatural deviation of shape or position of any part of the body producing visible deformity.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1580s, "action of distorting," from Latin distortionem (nominative distortio), noun of action from past participle stem of distorquere (see distort). Figurative use (of words, etc.) from 1640s.


n. 1 An act of distorting. 2 A result of distorting. 3 A misrepresentation of the truth. 4 noise or other artifacts caused in the electronic reproduction of sound or music. 5 An effect used in music, most commonly on guitars in rock or metal. 6 (optics) an aberration that causes magnification to change over the field of view.

  1. n. a change for the worse [syn: deformation]

  2. a shape resulting from distortion [syn: distorted shape]

  3. an optical phenomenon resulting from the failure of a lens or mirror to produce a good image [syn: aberration, optical aberration]

  4. a change (usually undesired) in the waveform of an acoustic or analog electrical signal; the difference between two measurements of a signal (as between the input and output signal); "heavy metal guitar players use vacuum tube amplifiers to produce extreme distortion"

  5. the act of distorting something so it seems to mean something it was not intended to mean [syn: overrefinement, straining, torture, twisting]

  6. the mistake of misrepresenting the facts


Distortion is the alteration of the original shape (or other characteristic) of something, such as an object, image, sound or waveform. Distortion is usually unwanted, and so engineers strive to eliminate distortion, or minimize it. In some situations, however, distortion may be desirable. The important signal processing operation of heterodyning is based on nonlinear mixing of signals to cause intermodulation. Distortion is also used as a musical effect, particularly with electric guitars.

The addition of noise or other outside signals ( hum, interference) is not deemed distortion, though the effects of quantization distortion are sometimes deemed noise. A quality measure that explicitly reflects both the noise and the distortion is the Signal-to-noise-and-distortion (SINAD) ratio.

Distortion (optics)

In geometric optics and cathode ray tube (CRT) displays, distortion is a deviation from rectilinear projection, a projection in which straight lines in a scene remain straight in an image. It is a form of optical aberration.

Distortion (Forbidden album)

Distortion is the third album from San Francisco, California thrash metal band, Forbidden.

It comes five years after their second, Twisted into Form, was released. It expands on the increasing "dark" and "moody" feel of Twisted. Many do not consider Distortion to be truly a thrash album, as it has many mid and slower paced songs, many of which have more modern groove metal influences, and also some very long, heavy and dark progressive tracks that evoke Nevermore and, to a lesser extent Train of Thought era Dream Theater. A single was made for the track "No Reason", that also featured a video. The album was released through the years from 1994 to 1997 three times, on three different labels (Gun Records, Massacre Records and, finally, Fierce Records) with three different cover artworks. There is then a fourth, much more simple artwork featured on the cover for the promotional version of the album, hosted in cardboard sleeve. The only line-up change for the recording of "Distortion" was Steve Jacobs replacing Paul Bostaph who had since left for Slayer.

Distortion (Joseph Simmons album)

Distortion is the first solo album from Rev. Run formerly of Run–D.M.C. It was originally scheduled to be released in 2003, but was delayed until 2005. "Mind on the Road" peaked at 98 on the Pop 100. The album debuted at 78 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart.

Distortion (The Magnetic Fields album)

Distortion is the eighth studio album by American indie pop band The Magnetic Fields. It was released on January 15, 2008 by record label Nonesuch.

Distortion (disambiguation)

Distortion denotes the alteration of the original shape of an object, image, sound, or waveform.

Distortion may also refer to:

Distortion (Game Theory EP)

Distortion was the third release from Game Theory, a California power pop band fronted by guitarist and singer-songwriter Scott Miller. Released in 1984, this five-song EP was produced by Michael Quercio of The Three O'Clock. A remastered reissue of Distortion by Omnivore Recordings was released in November 2014 as a 10-inch EP on green vinyl, with four of the songs released on CD as part of Omnivore's reissued Dead Center compilation.

Distortion (music)

Distortion and overdrive are forms of audio signal processing used to alter the sound of amplified electric musical instruments, usually by increasing their gain. Distortion is most commonly used with the electric guitar, but may also be used with other electric instruments. Guitarists playing electric blues originally obtained an overdriven sound by turning up their vacuum tube-powered guitar amplifiers to high volumes. While overdriven tube amps are still used to obtain overdrive in the 2010s, especially in genres like blues and rockabilly, a number of other ways to produce distortion have been developed since the 1960s, such as distortion effect pedals.

The effects alter the instrument sound by clipping the signal, adding sustain and harmonic and inharmonic overtones and leading to a compressed sound that is often described as "warm" and "dirty", depending on the type and intensity of distortion used. The terms distortion and overdrive are often used interchangeably; where a distinction is made, "distortion" is used to denote a more extreme version of the effect than "overdrive". "Fuzz" is a term used to describe a particular form of distortion originally created by guitarists using faulty equipment (such as a misaligned valve tube, see below), which has been emulated since the 1960s by a number of "fuzzbox" effects pedals.

Distortion, overdrive, and fuzz can be produced by effects pedals, rackmounts, pre-amplifiers, power amplifiers, speakers and (since the 2000s) by digital amplifier modeling devices and audio software. These effects are used with electric guitars, electric basses ( fuzz bass), electronic keyboards, and more rarely as a special effect with vocals. While distortion is often created intentionally as a musical effect, musicians and sound engineers sometimes take steps to avoid distortion, particularly when using PA systems to amplify vocals or when playing back prerecorded music.

Distortion (economics)

A distortion is departure from the allocation of economic resources from the state in which each agent maximizes his/her own welfare. A proportional wage-income tax, for instance, is distortionary, whereas a lump-sum tax is not. In a competitive equilibrium, a proportional wage income tax discourages work.

In perfect competition with no externalities, there is zero distortion at market equilibrium of supply and demand where price equals marginal cost for each firm and product. More generally, a measure of distortion is the deviation between the market price of a good and its marginal social cost, that is, the difference between the marginal rate of substitution in consumption and the marginal rate of transformation in production. Such a deviation may result from government regulation, monopoly tariffs and import quotas, which in theory may give rise to rent seeking. Other sources of distortions are uncorrected externalities, different tax rates on goods or income, inflation, and incomplete information. Each of these may lead to a net loss in social surplus.

Distortion (mathematics)

In mathematics, the distortion is a measure of the amount by which a function from the Euclidean plane to itself distorts circles to ellipses. If the distortion of a function is equal to one, then it is conformal; if the distortion is bounded and the function is a homeomorphism, then it is quasiconformal. The distortion of a function ƒ of the plane is given by

$$H(z,f) = \limsup_{r\to 0}\frac{\max_{|h|=r}|f(z+h)-f(z)|}{\min_{|h|=r}|f(z+h)-f(z)|}$$

which is the limiting eccentricity of the ellipse produced by applying ƒ to small circles centered at z. This geometrical definition is often very difficult to work with, and the necessary analytical features can be extrapolated to the following definition. A mapping ƒ : Ω → R from an open domain in the plane to the plane has finite distortion at a point x ∈ Ω if ƒ is in the Sobolev space W(Ω, R), the Jacobian determinant J(x,ƒ) is locally integrable and does not change sign in Ω, and there is a measurable function K(x) ≥ 1 such that

Df(x)∣ ≤ K(x)∣J(x, f)∣ 

almost everywhere. Here Df is the weak derivative of ƒ, and |Df| is the Hilbert–Schmidt norm.

For functions on a higher-dimensional Euclidean space R, there are more measures of distortion because there are more than two principal axes of a symmetric tensor. The pointwise information is contained in the distortion tensor

$$G(x,f) = \begin{cases} |J(x,f)^{-2/n}D^Tf(x)Df(x)&\text{if }J(x,f)\not=0\\ I &\text{if }J(x,f)=0. \end{cases}$$

The outer distortion K and inner distortion K are defined via the Rayleigh quotients

$$K_O(x) = \sup_{\xi\not=0}\frac{\langle G(x)\xi,\xi\rangle^{n/2}}{|\xi|^n},\quad K_O(x) = \sup_{\xi\not=0}\frac{\langle G^{-1}(x)\xi,\xi\rangle^{n/2}}{|\xi|^n}.$$

The outer distortion can also be characterized by means of an inequality similar to that given in the two-dimensional case. If Ω is an open set in R, then a function has finite distortion if its Jacobian is locally integrable and does not change sign, and there is a measurable function K (the outer distortion) such that

Df(x)∣ ≤ K(x)∣J(x, f)∣ 

almost everywhere.

Usage examples of "distortion".

He answered not, But writhing with intolerable pain, Convulsed in every limb, and all his face Wrought to distortion with the agony, Turned on his lord a look of wild appeal, The secret half atremble on his lips, Livid and quivering, that waited yet For leave -- for leave to utter it -- one sign -- One word -- one little word -- to ease his pain.

Saving text dialogues with a client can help therapists reduce errors in recall, some of which might be due to countertransference distortions.

However, deep hermeneutics maintains that once the person loosens the repression barrier, exposes this deeper truth, and acknowledges it, then a certain liberation is gained, a liberation from the distortions, lies, and delusions that were constructed to hide the truth.

All peculiarly modern ills, all fresh distortions and distempers, Bujak attributed to one thing: Einsteinian knowledge, knowledge of the strong force.

Borges assigns to that distortion of classification that prevents us from applying it, to that picture that lacks all spatial coherence, is a precise region whose name alone constitutes for the West a vast reservoir of Utopias.

The curve, or distortion, of the spine increases more rapidly as the body becomes heavier, the spine often assuming the shape of the letter S, and, from compression by torsion of the vertebrae and distortion of the ribs, the vital organs are encroached upon, causing serious functional derangement of the heart, lungs, liver, and stomach, producing, as its inevitable consequence a list of maladies fearful to contemplate.

Fat raindrops would come splashing down from the sky, sending ripples of distortion through the advertising displays, drawing streaks on the black glass walls, forming puddles on the street that would turn slick and green with pseudoplankton in minutes.

Sensors slid out into spacetime, and scanned for the quantum distortion signatures of wormholes.

Athene and Sinon felt the gravity fade down to half a gee as the distortion field dissipated.

The high-energy proton spectrpmetry clusters flunked out, too, as did the gravimetric distortion mapping scanner, the fixed angle gamma frequency counter, the wide-angle EM radiation imaging scanner, the quark population analysis counter, the Z-range particulate spectrometry sensor, the low-frequency EM flux sensor, the localized subspace field stress sensor, the parametric subspace field stress sensor, the hydrogen-filter subspace flux scanner, the linear calibration subspace flux sensor, the variable band optical imagining cluster, the virtual aperture graviton flux spectrometer, the high-resolution graviton flux spectrometer, the very low energy graviton spin pola-rimeter, the passive imaging gamma interferometry sensor, the low-level imagining sensor, the virtual particle mapping camera, and even the life-form analysis instrument counter.

Outbreak was a particularly hideous distortion of Leptospirosis or Spirochaetal Jaundice.

The approach of the supports for the upper floor of the trailing platform necessitated the removal of these turnbuckles from all but the three leading rings, but if the iron showed a tendency to continue distortion, they were re-inserted after the passage of the trailing platform and remained until the arch of the concrete lining was placed.

What wavelike distortions might their meeting send out through the continuum?

To what extent have the assumptions of scientific materialism not only limited scientific research but introduced distortions or even delusions into this mode of inquiry?

We will return, in chapters 12, 13, and 14, to the dramatic failure of virtually all of the eco-philosophies to deal nonreductionistically with the noosphere and its distributions and distortions.