Definition of tortuous in US English:

tortuous

adjective

  • 1Full of twists and turns.

    ‘the route is remote and tortuous’
    • ‘It allows us to insert tortuous vessels where flexibility is very important.’
    • ‘Several tortuous hypertrophic nerve bundles were also embedded in the fibrous tissue.’
    • ‘But that proved only the beginning of a long and tortuous road full of false starts and broken promises.’
    • ‘Babies born at 25 weeks and less are at high risk of death, a long, tortuous journey through life, and disability.’
    • ‘The splenic vein is not invested in a common sheath with the artery - it is retropancreatic and never tortuous.’
    • ‘It is perhaps all the more dangerous, more labyrinthine, and more tortuous for this reason.’
    • ‘An aneurysm expands laterally with systole while a tortuous aorta does not.’
    • ‘The vessels appear enlarged and tortuous, especially the venous capillaries.’
    • ‘Varicose veins are tortuous, twisted, or lengthened veins.’
    • ‘Neither fascicles of smooth muscle cells nor thick-walled tortuous blood vessels were present.’
    • ‘They all appear enlarged and have a tortuous course, especially the capillary veins.’
    • ‘The campaign is a long, sometimes tortuous period of time and these qualities help everyone not just survive, but thrive.’
    • ‘He was as tortuous and convoluted as a monkey puzzle tree.’
    • ‘The Ryder Cup trail has often been tortuous, twisting and downright tedious, but the rewards to the Scottish economy are expected to be enormous.’
    • ‘A barium enema showed a narrowed, tortuous sigmoid colon with multiple diverticuli and thickening of the bowel wall.’
    • ‘The nanofiller also creates a tortuous path for the penetration of gaseous vapors and liquids into the polymer.’
    • ‘Long, heavily calcified stenoses in tortuous vessels or at bifurcations and chronic total occlusions are less suitable.’
    • ‘Eventually, after a particularly tortuous twist, the path opened out and they came to the Cave of the Prophet.’
    • ‘These veins are tortuous and bulky, making it virtually impossible to identify the spinal arteries.’
    • ‘The common carotid artery sometimes follows a very tortuous course, forming one or more distinct loops in the neck.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead, Brown has treated us to a tortuous, Jesuitical argument so self-contradictory it merits its own reprimand.’
      • ‘The route to publication was long and occasionally tortuous, with considerable argument with editors and peer reviewers.’
      • ‘We had countless tortuous internal meetings to prioritize and slog through the full set of 500 items.’
      • ‘They thus engage in a tortuous argument to show that it really wasn't about what the protesters said it was.’
      • ‘The classification of tropical karst is highly complex, with a tortuous terminology derived from several languages.’
      • ‘Paine was careful to contrast the tortuous twists of theology with the pure clarity of deism.’
      • ‘We have been following a sometimes tortuous path through a maze of arguments and definitions.’
      • ‘Then, after tortuous negotiations, the sale fell through.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Instead of destroying their sculptures, managers have to hand their work over to a different group to complete - a tortuous experience.’
      • ‘The second Presidential Address is similar, though to a modern eye the arguments are even more tortuous.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But where does the inquiry go from here after the tortuous and lengthy taking of the evidence?’
      • ‘The plot complications are tortuous, their resolutions unsatisfying and the characters thin.’
      • ‘So it's a very complicated, very complex and tortuous process that we're going through legally here.’
      • ‘In fact, the argument here is not so tortuous as many to be found amongst the post-modernists.’
      convoluted, roundabout, circuitous, indirect, unstraightforward, involved, complicated, complex, confusing, lengthy, overlong, verbose, difficult to follow
      View synonyms

Usage

On the difference between tortuous and torturous, see torturous

Origin

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

Pronunciation

tortuous

/ˈtɔrtʃ(u)əs//ˈtôrCH(o͞o)əs/