I am writing an action scene in which a character is thrown/falls and while they are flying through the air either the top or bottom half of their body hits an immovable object mid air, causing them to continue in the same direction but with their body at a different rotation now, without starting to spin because of it. It's essentially like a rug pull but happening in mid air if that makes sense? I think I have read this as "jackknifing" in other writing but I'm not sure if that is the correct use case and meaning? Here is a video example except the character spins after impact, which is not desired.

I have included a diagram to help illustrate this as well (side on view, top of arrows are character's heads, grey object is the ground, green object is stationary and immovable):

enter image description here

Example sentence:

Red guy hit blue guy, sending him flying back into a green object, which ______ his body.

  • Not sure if jackknife is the right term. Usually, Jackknifing is a specific kind of vehicle accident, usually in tractor-trailer type trucks, where the tow vehicle is not able to stop the forward movement of the trailer and is push out of the way until such a point that the tow is almost spun 180 to it's original forward direction. Your visualization is a bit difficult to understand as all midair collisions are in 3D and I'm not sure which way I'm looking. Also could you describe what's going on in the scene beyond the action. Mid-air super-hero fight?
    – hszmv
    Apr 15, 2021 at 11:20
  • Tumble is close, though I don't think exact.
    – Allan
    Apr 15, 2021 at 11:26
  • @hszmv I thought maybe jackknifing was referring to how an object folds but you're probably right. The scene I'm working on right now is essentially a fight scene between red and blue (the grey is the ground). When one character strikes another they can either fall, fly back and hit a solid object (eg. wall), or fly and "trip over" a smaller object while in mid air. That's what I'm trying to capture, without overly complex and length explanations, since the pacing needs to maintain momentum. Generic words such as tumbling are unfortunately not specific enough.
    – FrontEnd
    Apr 15, 2021 at 14:16
  • 1
    Sounds like a trip line: Blue's head impact does not prevent his feet from from continuing on his forward movement. Not sure if there's a term for this specifically.
    – hszmv
    Apr 15, 2021 at 14:46
  • 1
    "Jackknifing" refers to folding up like a pocket knife. If you punch someone really hard in the gut, then he will "jackknife" in pain.
    – JRE
    Apr 15, 2021 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


Fun word games are fun 🙂. Some options:

  1. Go simple

... which twisted his body

  1. Change the wording

... he hit the object and that caused him to swivel mid-air

... he collided with the object which made his body veer sharply to the left

  1. Chain more than one action

... his body ricocheted off the object and spun.

  1. Find the exact verb you want...?

Overall, if we're speaking about verbs and their synonyms, I think "turn" is a good starting point in this case:


Or maybe "twist":


In such cases, I usually start general, then click on the synonym that is the closest in meaning to what I'm looking for, and follow the links.


The motion is a tilt. "to cause to lean, incline, slope, or slant."

so you sentence could end "which tilted his body"


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.