con·​vo·​lut·​ed ˈkän-və-ˌlü-təd How to pronounce convoluted (audio)
: having convolutions
a ram with convoluted horns
: involved, intricate
a convoluted argument

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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 convoluted.

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 convoluted yarn concerns the bad boys’ deceased Captain Howard (Joe Pantoliano), who has been posthumously framed for corruption, accused of sharing intel with drug cartels. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2024 South Korean movies are known for their boundary-pushing storytelling, genre-bending filmmaking, and beautifully convoluted twists — and that is certainly true of Korean horror., 2 June 2024 In an appeal, Mr. Trump’s lawyers are expected to argue that Mr. Bragg inappropriately stretched the state election law — a convoluted one, at that — to cover a federal campaign. Jonah E. Bromwich, New York Times, 1 June 2024 An orca’s cerebral cortex is more convoluted, more intricately folded, than a human’s — which gives them an extraordinary ability to learn, remember, think, and feel. Tomas Weber, Rolling Stone, 18 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for convoluted 

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

Word History


from past participle of convolute

First Known Use

1766, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of convoluted was in 1766


Dictionary Entries Near convoluted

Cite this Entry

“Convoluted.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


con·​vo·​lut·​ed ˈkän-və-ˌlüt-əd How to pronounce convoluted (audio)
: folded or curved in twisted windings
especially : having convolutions
: complicated in form : intricate
convoluted phrasing

Medical Definition


con·​vo·​lut·​ed -ˌlü-təd How to pronounce convoluted (audio)
: folded in curved or tortuous windings
specifically : having convolutions
the highly convoluted human cerebral cortex

More from Merriam-Webster on convoluted

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