Word of the Day : July 19, 2011


adjective KAHN-vuh-loo-tud


1 : having many twists and curves

2 : involved, intricate

Did You Know?

"Convoluted" and "convolution" (a noun referring to a folded, winding shape, such as one of the ridges of the brain) are from Latin "volvere," meaning "to roll." "Volvere" has given English many words, but one of the following is NOT from "volvere." Can you pick it out?


The path from "vault" to "volvere" leads (rather convolutedly) through Middle English, Anglo-French, and Vulgar Latin to Latin "volutus," past participle of "volvere." "Voluble" meant "rolling easily" before it meant "speaking readily," and "voluminous" first meant "consisting of many folds." "Devolve" ("to pass down," as in "the stewardship devolved upon the son") once meant literally "to roll down." The word that doesn’t belong is "volley." It’s from Latin "volare," meaning "to fly."


According to my sister’s convoluted reasoning, I still owed her $20.

"Given a plot so convoluted as to be almost nonsensical -- one of Shakespeare's few originals -- Carpenter's majestic if wrongheadedly noble Titus and Ross' sinister Tamora keep us fixed on the central action." -- From a review by Robert Hurwitt in The San Francisco Chronicle, June 6, 2011

Name That Synonym

What word rhymes with "needle," can be a synonym of "convoluted," and can also mean "artistic" or "adorned with many things"? The answer is ...


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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