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 This long, sinuous body of jewel-like water stretches for 186 miles from northern Arizona into Utah. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, "Want to rent a houseboat, kayak or other water toy this summer? You can at these Arizona lakes," 30 June 2020 After a sinuous drive, Jim's Steak House jumped out as a jewel on the Cuyahoga. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Jim’s Steak House: Readers’ memories flood back about classic restaurant," 17 May 2020 Though these pieces, with their sinuous curves, metallic finishes and seamless blend of sheen and distress, appear futuristic, De Cotiis is, in fact, inspired largely by Italy’s design past. Kurt Soller, New York Times, "The Extravagance of Less," 19 Mar. 2020 The sinuous white bivouac had its lures (even, crisp light, a swanky food court) and its drags (getting there was a schlep, and one year the air-conditioning broke down and turned the tent into a sauna). New York Times, "Art, Music and More to Experience at Home This Weekend," 7 May 2020 The seat is built around a sinuous carbon-fiber frame overlaid with a transparent and tinted polycarbonate skin. Noah Joseph, Car and Driver, "Car Designer Frank Stephenson Reinvents the Child Car Seat," 5 May 2020 Huanghan Mountain Village, 2017 Huangshan Mountain Village in China (Hufton+Crow) The Huangshan region, full of ancient villages, sinuous tea fields and granite peaks, has long been an inspiration for Chinese artists. Sam Lubell, Los Angeles Times, "11 buildings by Ma Yansong, the architect behind George Lucas’ L.A. museum," 2 Apr. 2020 Responding to the locale’s frigid climate and savage wilderness, this sinuous building appears like a mountain, sculpted by the wind and covered with snow. Sam Lubell, Los Angeles Times, "11 buildings by Ma Yansong, the architect behind George Lucas’ L.A. museum," 2 Apr. 2020 Despite a sinuous facade that beckons to passersby with its elegant, cream-colored bricks and contrasting black trim, several prior attempts to revive the theater have failed. Mary Carole Mccauley, Washington Post, "A rare black-owned Maryland movie theater celebrates its first anniversary," 27 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sinuous

Time Traveler

The first known use of sinuous was in 1578

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Statistics for sinuous

Last Updated

11 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sinuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for sinuous


How to pronounce sinuous (audio)

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

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