twisted; coiled.
complicated; intricately involved: a convoluted way of describing a simple device.

Origin of convoluted

First recorded in 1805–15; convolute + -ed2
Related formscon·vo·lut·ed·ly, adjectivecon·vo·lut·ed·ness, nounun·con·vo·lut·ed, adjective



verb (used with or without object), con·vo·lut·ed, con·vo·lut·ing.

to coil up; form into a twisted shape.


rolled up together or with one part over another.
Botany. coiled up longitudinally so that one margin is within the coil and the other without, as the petals of cotton.

Origin of convolute

1690–1700; < Latin convolūtus rolled up, equivalent to convolū- (stem of convolvere to convolve) + -tus past participle suffix
Related formscon·vo·lute·ly, adverbsub·con·vo·lute, adjectivesub·con·vo·lute·ly, adverbun·con·vo·lute, adjectiveun·con·vo·lute·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for convoluted

Contemporary Examples of convoluted

Historical Examples of convoluted

British Dictionary definitions for convoluted



(esp of meaning, style, etc) difficult to comprehend; involved
wound together; coiled
Derived Formsconvolutedly, adverbconvolutedness, noun


verb (tr)

to form into a twisted, coiled, or rolled shape


botany rolled longitudinally upon itselfa convolute petal
another word for convoluted (def. 2)
Derived Formsconvolutely, adverb

Word Origin for convolute

C18: from Latin convolūtus rolled up, from convolvere to roll together, from volvere to turn
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 convoluted

1811, past participle adjective from verb convolute (1690s), from Latin convolutus, past participle of convolvere (see convolution); or perhaps a back-formation from convolution. French has convoluté (18c.), in form a past participle adjective, without the verb.



"rolled up together," 1794, from Latin convolutus, past participle of convolvere (see convolution). The noun meaning "something convoluted" is from 1846.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper