sin·​u·​ous | \ ˈsin-yə-wəs How to pronounce sinuous (audio) , -yü-əs\

Definition of sinuous

1a : of a serpentine or wavy form : winding
b : marked by strong lithe movements

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Other Words from sinuous

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 descendents 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 1529, and was followed by sinuous (1578), sine (1593), and cosine (1635). 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

Tapestries and rugs are on view at Keshishian, including one from the 1960s — formerly installed at a university in Tbilisi, Georgia — that features a psychedelic composition with sinuous sea nymphs and dolphins. Martha Schwendener, New York Times, "The Winter Antiques Show Embraces the Evolving Definition of Antique," 18 Jan. 2018 How about the shift, over four sinuous sentences, from detachment to intimacy, as the narrator reveals his relationship to the Smiths? Justin Taylor, New York Times, "Stories Filled With Strivers, Schemers and Adventurers," 10 Apr. 2018 The other main types of sofa suspension are webbing and sinuous-springs. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need to Know About 8-Way Hand-Tied Sofas," 5 Jan. 2019 Beautifully colored, with sinuous lines seemingly taken from nature, or boldly graphic, af Klimt’s work remains relevant and fresh. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Abstract Painter Hilma af Klint Inspires a Collaborative Capsule Collection for the Guggenheim Museum Store," 13 Oct. 2018 The sinuous, finger-snapping single is written from a perspective that Ralph will soon find herself among her pop-star heroes before too long, while still attempting to staying true to her roots. Andrew Hampp, Billboard, "Canadian Pop Songstress Ralph Premieres Irresistible 'Girl Next Door' From Upcoming Debut Album," 16 May 2018 Landon, founder of Tortus Ceramics Studio in Copenhagen, transforms lumps of clay into sinuous forms with a graceful hand. Isaiah Freeman-schub, WSJ, "Senior Market Editor Isaiah Freeman-Schub’s Holiday Gift Guide: Man of the World," 12 Dec. 2018 Now, highways have straightaways, and not even the most sinuous snaking road has constant curves. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Can Driving the Inside Lane on the Highway Shorten Your Trip?," 16 Nov. 2018 By 2010, Kardashian West was practically the definition of the bombshell beauty equation: Tousled, voluminous hair, out-to-there lashes, deft contouring that sharpened her features against a famously sinuous frame. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Happy Birthday, Kim Kardashian West! Tracing Her Jaw-Dropping Beauty Evolution," 21 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sinuous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sinuous

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sinuous

Latin sinuosus, from sinus

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Dictionary Entries near sinuous






sinus gland


Statistics for sinuous

Last Updated

29 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for sinuous

The first known use of sinuous was in 1578

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More Definitions for sinuous



English Language Learners Definition of sinuous

formal + literary
: having many twists and turns
: moving and bending in a smooth and attractive way


sin·​u·​ous | \ ˈsin-yə-wəs How to pronounce sinuous (audio) \

Kids Definition of sinuous

: having a wavy or winding form

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More from Merriam-Webster on sinuous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sinuous

Spanish Central: Translation of sinuous

Nglish: Translation of sinuous for Spanish Speakers

Comments on sinuous

What made you want to look up sinuous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


using a distributed computer network

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