sin·​u·​ous ˈsin-yə-wəs How to pronounce sinuous (audio)
: of a serpentine or wavy form : winding
: marked by strong lithe movements
sinuously adverb
sinuousness noun

Did you know?

Although it probably makes you think more of snakes than head colds, sinuous is etymologically more like sinus than serpent. Sinuous and sinus both derive from the Latin noun sinus, which means "curve, fold, or hollow." Other sinus descendants include insinuate ("to impart or suggest in an artful or indirect way") and two terms you might remember from math class: sine and cosine. In English, sinus is the oldest of these words; it entered the language in the 1400s. Insinuate appeared next, in the early 1500s, and was followed by sinuous and sine in the latter half of the 1500s, and cosine in the 1600s. Serpent, by the way, entered English in the 13th century and comes from the Latin verb serpere, meaning "to creep."

Examples of sinuous in a Sentence

She moved with sinuous grace. the river flowed in a sinuous path through the lush valley
Recent Examples on the Web The heist occurred during a 27-minute window in which one driver slept in the vehicle’s sleeper berth and another ate a meal at the Flying J, a sprawling truck stop just off Interstate 5’s sinuous Grapevine in Lebec, Calif. That crime remains unsolved. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 The sinuous result, crafted predominantly from steel, concrete, and glass and on which Cunningham bestowed the name Wing House, is now available for $10.5 million to avant-garde architecture lovers with a penchant for the ‘burbs and a thing for curves. Mark David, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2024 But her gardens, with their sinuous terracing, painterly layers of color and texture and plantings that rise to meet — or, at times, recreate — the forest, demand to be seen. Michael Snyder Pedro Kok, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2024 Its sculpted silhouette was made to resemble the sinuous lines of Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Milà and designed for a seamless fit on the wrist. Alexis Bennett Parker, Vogue, 13 Mar. 2024 The roots of the tree display a sinuous orange serpent captured in glass, immortalizing the moment before Eve is tempted by the apple. Anthony Demarco, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 See also: Christina Aguilera at the 2024 Grammys in a pale-blue iteration of Pugh’s sinuous jersey dress, embellished with the same hip-slithering beads. Daniel Rodgers, Vogue, 7 Feb. 2024 Penned by Alberto Mancini, the superyacht’s exterior is replete with the sleek and sinuous lines synonymous with Azimut’s Grande designs. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 30 Oct. 2023 Gone, however, is the sinuous, 16-foot-long Ingo Maurer red ribbon chandelier that once hung over the island. Mark David, Robb Report, 25 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sinuous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin sinuosus, from sinus

First Known Use

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of sinuous was in 1578


Dictionary Entries Near sinuous

Cite this Entry

“Sinuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


sin·​u·​ous ˈsin-yə-wəs How to pronounce sinuous (audio)
: of a snakelike or wavy form : winding
sinuously adverb

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