An example of tortuous is an argument that is complex and challenging to follow.
- full of twists, turns, curves, or windings; winding; crooked
- not straightforward; devious; specif., deceitful or tricky
Origin of tortuousMiddle English from Anglo-French from Classical Latin tortuosus from tortus: see tort
- Having or marked by repeated turns or bends; winding or twisting: a tortuous road through the mountains.
- Not straightforward; circuitous; devious: a tortuous plot; tortuous reasoning.
- Highly involved; complex: tortuous legal procedures.
Origin of tortuousMiddle English from Anglo-Norman from Latin tortuōsus from tortus a twisting from past participle of torquēre to twist ; see terkw- in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: Although tortuous and torturous both come from the Latin word torquēre, “to twist,” their primary meanings are distinct. Tortuous means “twisting” ( a tortuous road ) or by extension “complex” or “devious.” Torturous refers primarily to torture and the pain associated with it. However, torturous also can be used in the sense of “twisted, strained, belabored” and tortured is an even stronger synonym: a tortured analogy.
(comparative more tortuous, superlative most tortuous)
From Latin tortuosus, from tortus (“a twisting, winding").