tor·​tur·​ous ˈtȯrch-rəs How to pronounce torturous (audio)
: very unpleasant or painful
a torturous day
torturous self-doubts
: causing torture
torturous inquisitions
: painfully difficult or slow
the torturous course of the negotiations
torturously adverb

Examples of torturous in a Sentence

relatives had to make the torturous decision to disconnect the patient's life-support system the post-infection treatment for rabies was as notoriously torturous as the disease itself
Recent Examples on the Web Some actors have described his process as torturous, his temper difficult. Mujib Mashal Atul Loke, New York Times, 1 May 2024 Throughout the torturous overnight hours spanning Feb. 24 and 25, Mahogany was allegedly moved by the group to multiple locations, including to an apartment complex named Serenity Apartments. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 14 Mar. 2024 Even people who love children and love being with children can find spending Saturday mornings at the ball pit or Gymboree with kids who are not related to them pretty torturous. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 26 Mar. 2024 The torturous summer was widely attributed to an El Niño weather pattern. Rick Rojas Emily Kask, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2024 Fear of a powerful woman Jan. 31, 2024 Keeping up with the news or cultural churn is tantamount to placing one’s self in a torturous James Bond escape scenario — sealed in a room where the walls are closing in slowly, or strapped to a table as a hot laser advances toward your groin. Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times, 12 Feb. 2024 Although police have not released a motive for the murder, the chief said that Mahogany knew the seven suspects, who allegedly videotaped portions of her torturous last hours. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 29 Feb. 2024 The game had dribbled away and cricket has a way of extending the agony of the vanquished in torturous slow motion. Tim Ellis, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2024 The bill’s passage followed almost five months of torturous negotiations over an expansive bill that would have paired the foreign aid with an overhaul of border and asylum policies. TIME, 13 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'torturous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of torturous was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near torturous

Cite this Entry

“Torturous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


tor·​tur·​ous ˈtȯrch-(ə-)rəs How to pronounce torturous (audio)
: causing great pain
torturously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on torturous

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