adjective tor·tu·ous \ˈtrch-wəs, ˈtr-chə-\

: having many twists and turns

: complicated, long, and confusing

Full Definition of TORTUOUS

:  marked by repeated twists, bends, or turns :  winding <a tortuous path>
a :  marked by devious or indirect tactics :  crooked, tricky <a tortuous conspiracy>
b :  circuitous, involved <the tortuous jargon of legal forms>
tor·tu·ous·ly adverb
tor·tu·ous·ness noun

Examples of TORTUOUS

  1. a tortuous path up the mountain
  2. <a tortuous mountain road marked by numerous hairpin turns>

Origin of TORTUOUS

Middle English, from Middle French tortueux, from Latin tortuosus, from tortus twist, from torquēre to twist
First Known Use: 15th century
TORTUOUS Defined for Kids


adjective tor·tu·ous \ˈtr-chə-wəs\

Definition of TORTUOUS for Kids

:  having many twists and turns <a tortuous path>
Medical Dictionary


adjective tor·tu·ous \ˈtrch-(ə-)wəs\

Medical Definition of TORTUOUS

:  marked by repeated twists, bends, or turns <a tortuous blood vessel>
tor·tu·os·i·ty \ˈtr-chə-ˈwäs-ət-ē\ noun, plural tor·tu·os·i·ties
tor·tu·rous·ly adverb


Next Word in the Dictionary: torturablePrevious Word in the Dictionary: tortuosityAll Words Near: tortuous
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears