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tortuous

[tawr-choo-uh s]
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adjective
  1. full of twists, turns, or bends; twisting, winding, or crooked: a tortuous path.
  2. not direct or straightforward, as in procedure or speech; intricate; circuitous: tortuous negotiations lasting for months.
  3. deceitfully indirect or morally crooked, as proceedings, methods, or policy; devious.

Origin of tortuous

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin tortuōsus, equivalent to tortu(s) a twisting (tor(quēre) to twist, bend + -tus suffix of v. action) + -ōsus -ous
Related formstor·tu·ous·ly, adverbtor·tu·ous·ness, nounnon·tor·tu·ous, adjectivenon·tor·tu·ous·ly, adverbun·tor·tu·ous, adjectiveun·tor·tu·ous·ly, adverbun·tor·tu·ous·ness, noun
Can be confusedtortuous torturous (see usage note at torturous)

Synonyms

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1. bent, sinuous, serpentine. 2. evasive, roundabout, indirect.

Usage note

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for tortuous

tortuous

adjective
  1. twisted or windinga tortuous road
  2. devious or cunninga tortuous mind
  3. intricate
Derived Formstortuously, adverbtortuousness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tortuous

adj.

late 14c., from Anglo-French tortuous (12c.), from Latin tortuosus "full of twists, winding," from tortus "a twisting, winding," from stem of torquere "to twist, wring, distort" (see thwart).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tortuous in Medicine

tortuous

(tôrchōō-əs)
adj.
  1. Having many turns; winding or twisting.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.