Words at Play : Top 10 Commonly Confused Words, Vol. 2

#6: Tortuous/Torturous

Question:

Is an overly-elaborate plan best described as torturous or tortuous?

Answer:

tortuous

How to remember it:

Torturous (with a second "r") really does suggest torture, the word it comes from. It's reserved for things that are very unpleasant, painful, difficult, or slow.

But something that is tricky, complicated, or circuitous – such as an overly elaborate plan – is tortuous. Think of twists and turns, and consider a related word: torque, which refers to a force that causes something to rotate.

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