Definition of tortuous in English:

tortuous

adjective

  • 1Full of twists and turns.

    ‘the route is remote and tortuous’
    • ‘The splenic vein is not invested in a common sheath with the artery - it is retropancreatic and never tortuous.’
    • ‘He was as tortuous and convoluted as a monkey puzzle tree.’
    • ‘The common carotid artery sometimes follows a very tortuous course, forming one or more distinct loops in the neck.’
    • ‘The nanofiller also creates a tortuous path for the penetration of gaseous vapors and liquids into the polymer.’
    • ‘A barium enema showed a narrowed, tortuous sigmoid colon with multiple diverticuli and thickening of the bowel wall.’
    • ‘Babies born at 25 weeks and less are at high risk of death, a long, tortuous journey through life, and disability.’
    • ‘Several tortuous hypertrophic nerve bundles were also embedded in the fibrous tissue.’
    • ‘Long, heavily calcified stenoses in tortuous vessels or at bifurcations and chronic total occlusions are less suitable.’
    • ‘The vessels appear enlarged and tortuous, especially the venous capillaries.’
    • ‘It allows us to insert tortuous vessels where flexibility is very important.’
    • ‘Neither fascicles of smooth muscle cells nor thick-walled tortuous blood vessels were present.’
    • ‘But that proved only the beginning of a long and tortuous road full of false starts and broken promises.’
    • ‘Varicose veins are tortuous, twisted, or lengthened veins.’
    • ‘Eventually, after a particularly tortuous twist, the path opened out and they came to the Cave of the Prophet.’
    • ‘The campaign is a long, sometimes tortuous period of time and these qualities help everyone not just survive, but thrive.’
    • ‘The Ryder Cup trail has often been tortuous, twisting and downright tedious, but the rewards to the Scottish economy are expected to be enormous.’
    • ‘It is perhaps all the more dangerous, more labyrinthine, and more tortuous for this reason.’
    • ‘These veins are tortuous and bulky, making it virtually impossible to identify the spinal arteries.’
    • ‘An aneurysm expands laterally with systole while a tortuous aorta does not.’
    • ‘They all appear enlarged and have a tortuous course, especially the capillary veins.’
    twisting, winding, curving, curvy, bending, sinuous, undulating, coiling, looping, meandering, serpentine, snaking, snaky, zigzag, convoluted, spiralling, twisty, circuitous, rambling, wandering, indirect, deviating, devious, labyrinthine, mazy
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    1. 1.1 Excessively lengthy and complex.
      ‘a tortuous argument’
      • ‘They thus engage in a tortuous argument to show that it really wasn't about what the protesters said it was.’
      • ‘So it's a very complicated, very complex and tortuous process that we're going through legally here.’
      • ‘We have been following a sometimes tortuous path through a maze of arguments and definitions.’
      • ‘Paine was careful to contrast the tortuous twists of theology with the pure clarity of deism.’
      • ‘Then, after tortuous negotiations, the sale fell through.’
      • ‘Instead, Brown has treated us to a tortuous, Jesuitical argument so self-contradictory it merits its own reprimand.’
      • ‘Yes, I know that it's still hard to know what exactly Bertie says or what he means or what the sum of his winding sentences and tortuous paragraphs amount to.’
      • ‘Your writings over the past few years have been enormously important as a source of orientation through the tortuous twists and turns of imperialist strategy.’
      • ‘The second Presidential Address is similar, though to a modern eye the arguments are even more tortuous.’
      • ‘The latest meander in this tortuous saga was the concern raised that when the road is finally in place that people would have to pay a toll to use it.’
      • ‘In fact, the argument here is not so tortuous as many to be found amongst the post-modernists.’
      • ‘But where does the inquiry go from here after the tortuous and lengthy taking of the evidence?’
      • ‘The route to publication was long and occasionally tortuous, with considerable argument with editors and peer reviewers.’
      • ‘The plot complications are tortuous, their resolutions unsatisfying and the characters thin.’
      • ‘We had countless tortuous internal meetings to prioritize and slog through the full set of 500 items.’
      • ‘I think long sentences, tortuous sentences, sentences which are unnecessarily full of abstractions.’
      • ‘Its rulers could not have been that lethargic, or its diplomacy so tortuous, for it to have survived for such a long period.’
      • ‘The classification of tropical karst is highly complex, with a tortuous terminology derived from several languages.’
      • ‘Instead of destroying their sculptures, managers have to hand their work over to a different group to complete - a tortuous experience.’
      • ‘His style, too, is often tortuous and gnomic, and it can be almost impossible to see what he actually means, as the endless discussions of his analysis of the causes of the war show.’
      convoluted, roundabout, circuitous, indirect, unstraightforward, involved, complicated, complex, confusing, lengthy, overlong, verbose, difficult to follow
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Usage

The two words tortuous and torturous have different core meanings. Tortuous means ‘full of twists and turns’, as in a tortuous route. Torturous means ‘involving or causing torture’, as in a torturous five days of fitness training. In extended senses, however, tortuous is used to mean ‘excessively lengthy and complex’ and hence may become indistinguishable from torturous: something which is tortuous is often also torturous, as in a tortuous piece of bureaucratic language; their way had been tortuous and very difficult. The overlap in sense has led to tortuous being sometimes used interchangeably with torturous, as in he would at last draw in a tortuous gasp of air

Origin

Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin tortuosus, from tortus ‘twisting, a twist’, from Latin torquere ‘to twist’.

Pronunciation

tortuous

/ˈtɔːtjʊəs//ˈtɔːtʃʊəs/