sin·​u·​ous | \ˈsin-yə-wəs, -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

His sinuous, biomorphic chairs, tables, desks, pianos, clocks and vanities, which resembled giant teeth, a human tongue, elephants’ feet and human forms, started as freestyle drawings on rag paper. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Wendell Castle, 85, Dies; Blurred the Line Between Furniture and Art," 26 Jan. 2018 His raps are his own, but Zaytoven’s production, on both Beast Mode and Beast Mode 2, refracts the most sinuous of Future’s struggles and renders them more navigable. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Cathartic Symphony of Future’s Beast Mode 2," 6 July 2018 Lin builds sinuous rhythms that intersect with gorgeous melodies that create a magic realism that melds our complex past with our tangled present, all the while elevating art and consciousness. Oprah Winfrey And Quiara Alegria Hudes, Town & Country, "How Lin-Manuel Miranda and His Family Made Giving Back Their Tradition," 9 May 2018 This is really noticeable under hard braking, when the sinuous rear wing flicks up to nearly vertical. Dan Neil, WSJ, "2019 McLaren Senna: A Pet Racecar for Billionaires," 31 May 2018 The finished restaurant seats 65 inside, including at a central communal table, and an additional 35 on the secluded patio, edged by vertical planters currently sporting edible flowers and sinuous pea shoots. Kate Washington, sacbee, "If Allora can learn to relax a little, it will be one of the city's best restaurants | The Sacramento Bee," 11 May 2018 The final concept under consideration is Leroy Transfield’s Ribbon of Time, a sinuous stone wall that charts pictorially and via direct quotes the history of Native American service across the most tumultuous periods in global history. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "One of These Five Innovative Memorials Will Soon Honor Native American Veterans," 11 May 2018 The depiction of daybreak in the pages corresponding to the opening of Suite No. 2 was delicately atmospheric, Stefan Ragnar Hoskuldsson’s flute solo cool and sinuous, and the final bacchanale rousing. John Von Rhein,, "CSO delivers a winning Ravel program under debut conductor Pintscher," 6 Apr. 2018 But there is at least one place where his vision is becoming reality: the sinuous lower Rio Grande Valley, scene of more unauthorized crossings than any other stretch between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Washington Post, "On the lower Rio Grande, a glimpse at the border Trump wants," 14 Apr. 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


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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

: having many twists and turns

: moving and bending in a smooth and attractive way


sin·​u·​ous | \ˈsin-yə-wəs \

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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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