Definition of convoluted in English:



  • 1(especially of an argument, story, or sentence) extremely complex and difficult to follow.

    ‘the film is let down by a convoluted plot in which nothing really happens’
    • ‘The storylines are convoluted in the extreme: they twist and turn on themselves, surprising and delighting.’
    • ‘This is the kind of convoluted wording that pops up on a regular basis, and my head still hurts trying to untangle it.’
    • ‘Another problem is that the convoluted narrative constantly conflicts with itself and could never actually add up in real life.’
    • ‘When Douglas's character smells a rat, the convoluted thriller plot is set in motion.’
    • ‘The intrigue is deepened by the convoluted tale of the past few months.’
    • ‘Youngsters nowadays prefer watching love stories with convoluted endings that stretch for more than three hours.’
    • ‘Because the issues of censorship are so convoluted and complicated I find it difficult to come down completely on one side or the other.’
    • ‘If you follow his convoluted logic, it makes a certain kind of sense, but he's stretching things.’
    • ‘People's eyes glaze over once they are immersed in its convoluted arguments.’
    • ‘And the expensive process could take a year to complete because of convoluted legal and municipal procedures.’
    • ‘Anyone who has tried to explain a convoluted opera plot to another is glaringly aware of difficulties that may arise.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, he is a compulsive liar whose naivety and innocence allows him to get away with the most convoluted stories.’
    • ‘This will allow it to assess the best bid quickly as some proposals tend to be convoluted, making comparisons difficult.’
    • ‘To say that it is convoluted and extremely complicated is an understatement.’
    • ‘The many convoluted and abstruse arguments of these programmes do not concern us here.’
    • ‘Sometimes convoluted word structures just aren't appropriate.’
    • ‘These issues and their connotations for academic freedom and campus sustainability are complex and convoluted.’
    • ‘Make sure you stay away from long, convoluted arguments that demand intense concentration to follow.’
    • ‘Given its epic emotions and convoluted plot, the story might better lend itself to opera than ballet.’
    • ‘You turned my daughter against me with this convoluted tale that makes me look evil.’
    complicated, complex, involved, intricate, elaborate, impenetrable, serpentine, labyrinthine, tortuous, tangled, byzantine, daedalian, gordian
    confused, confusing, bewildering, baffling, puzzling, perplexing
    fiddly, plotty
    View synonyms
  • 2technical Intricately folded, twisted, or coiled.

    ‘walnuts come in hard and convoluted shells’
    • ‘There was a convoluted tangle of coloured threads around you, some of which seemed to be paths.’
    • ‘The broken remains of the engine room form a short but convoluted route past twisted girders and scattered machinery.’
    • ‘The hot liquor tank has a convoluted coil of copper pipe that is used to raise the temperature of the mash.’
    • ‘Notice the convoluted rope work.’
    • ‘He was fully aware he was dreaming, but remained deep within the convoluted folds of his subconscious.’


Late 18th century: past participle of convolute, from Latin convolutus, past participle of convolvere roll together, intertwine (see convolve).