tortuous was our Word of the Day on 07/13/2014. Hear the podcast!
Examples of tortuous in a sentence
a tortuous path up the mountain
a tortuous mountain road marked by numerous hairpin turns
Did You Know?
Be careful not to confuse tortuous with torturous. These two words are relatives-both ultimately come from the Latin verb torquere, which means "to twist," "to wind," or "to wrench"-but tortuous means "winding" or "crooked," whereas torturous means "painfully unpleasant." Something tortuous (such as a twisting mountain road) might also be torturous (if, for example, you have to ride up that road on a bicycle), but that doesn't make these words synonyms. The twists and turns that mark a tortuous thing can be literal ("a tortuous path" or "a tortuous river") or figurative ("a tortuous argument" or "a tortuous explanation"), but you should consider choosing a different descriptive term if no implication of winding or crookedness is present.
Origin and Etymology of tortuous
Middle English, from Middle French tortueux, from Latin tortuosus, from tortus twist, from torquēre to twist
First Known Use: 15th century
TORTUOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of tortuous for English Language Learners
: having many twists and turns
: complicated, long, and confusing
TORTUOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of tortuous for Students
: having many twists and turns a tortuous path
Seen and Heard
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