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

Keep scrolling for more

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 The luxury yachting specialists have once again teamed up with designers Christopher Seymour and Carl Esch for the exterior of Vast 72, which is characterized by sleek, sinuous lines. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 13 July 2021 Light of Truth is a towering, metal structure with three pillars that support a sinuous, silver-colored object. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 July 2021 Like the original Cobra, Daisy has a sinuous silhouette with sleek lines and racing stripes that point to her power. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 24 June 2021 The blond bouffant, the sinuous caftans, and the acid tongue are a tribute to Joan Rivers, and certain plot points are virtually identical to details from Rivers’s life. Doreen St. Félix, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 Against this, the pure symmetry of her face betokens celestial harmonies, while her figure is improbably — dreamily — sinuous. Washington Post, 2 June 2021 His videos can be almost hypnotic, tracing the shark’s languidly sinuous movement through the empty green. Joe Mozingo, oregonlive, 16 May 2021 And the sinuous main staircase was originally adorned with a vibrant, wraparound mural that included a portrait of Mrs. Whitney in an androgynous avant-garde ballet outfit. New York Times, 21 May 2021 Naomi Campbell stands with one hand on her hip, the other raised, her figure sinuous in a tight bodysuit and her stance one of absolute power. Rosalind Jana, Vogue, 17 May 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of sinuous

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for sinuous

Latin sinuosus, from sinus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About sinuous

Time Traveler for sinuous

Time Traveler

The first known use of sinuous was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About sinuous

Statistics for sinuous

Last Updated

24 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sinuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on sinuous

Nglish: Translation of sinuous for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!