con·​vo·​lut·​ed | \ ˈkän-və-ˌlü-təd How to pronounce convoluted (audio) \

Definition of convoluted

1 : having convolutions a ram with convoluted horns
2 : involved, intricate a convoluted argument

The Origin of Convoluted Isn't

Convoluted comes from Latin convolvere, meaning "to roll up, coil, or twist." It is related to the verb convolute, meaning "to twist or coil." Once something is twisted it can be literally and figuratively difficult to unravel, and can be convoluated.

Examples of convoluted in a Sentence

At base stands a profound respect for the integrity of history and the complex and convoluted relationship between present and the past. — Ira Berlin, New York Times Book Review, 9 Sept. 2001 They are pictures of convoluted tree trunks on an island of pink wave-smoothed stone … — Margaret Atwood, Harper's, August 1990 … she has been fashioning sequences of plans too convoluted to materialize … — Joseph Heller, God Knows, 1984 To therapists, stepfamilies may present convoluted psychological dilemmas … — Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Family Politics, 1983 a convoluted explanation that left the listeners even more confused than they were before
Recent Examples on the Web This has to be the most convoluted and cockamamie apology on the books for Stalin’s mass murder. Algis Valiunas, National Review, 31 Mar. 2022 Despite the former President’s convoluted and faulty logic, he and his supporters might be forgiven for invoking the E.C.A. in contradictory ways. Sue Halpern, The New Yorker, 25 Feb. 2022 At oral arguments, he was known for convoluted and often amusing hypotheticals. Jess Bravin, WSJ, 26 Jan. 2022 The diamond's notoriety can be attributed to its long and convoluted history. Leena Kim, Town & Country, 5 Mar. 2022 Consciousness is chattery, convoluted, slippery, spotty, fickle. Kc Cole, Wired, 22 Dec. 2021 Buckingham said the convoluted conspiracy by Renee and Richard Perillo crossed state lines and was prosecuted by the federal government. John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star, 12 Apr. 2022 But the president is a formidable opponent, known for his photographic memory and ability to avoid hard questions with long, convoluted answers. Fortune, 10 Apr. 2022 The litigation involved convoluted allegations of self-dealing among executives at several Russian shipping companies, including Sovcomflot, whose majority owner is the Russian government. New York Times, 6 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'convoluted.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of convoluted

1766, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for convoluted

from past participle of convolute

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The first known use of convoluted was in 1766

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convoluted tubule

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Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Convoluted.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for convoluted


con·​vo·​lut·​ed | \ -ˌlü-təd How to pronounce convoluted (audio) \

Medical Definition of convoluted

: folded in curved or tortuous windings specifically : having convolutions the highly convoluted human cerebral cortex

More from Merriam-Webster on convoluted

Nglish: Translation of convoluted for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of convoluted for Arabic Speakers


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