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tortuous

[tawr-choo-uh s]
See more synonyms for tortuous on Thesaurus.com
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.
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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

See more synonyms for tortuous on Thesaurus.com
1. bent, sinuous, serpentine. 2. evasive, roundabout, indirect.

Usage note

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

Examples from the Web for tortuously

Historical Examples

  • Cautiously, tortuously, they made their way ahead for what seemed like ages, pausing frequently to listen.

    The Radio Boys on the Mexican Border

    Gerald Breckenridge

  • They crept on tortuously in serpentine curves through the long, dry grasses.

    Hilda Wade

    Grant Allen

  • Breathes there a man so tortuously afflicted with Strabismus that he doesn't see it?

  • On the testimony of his own letters it is clear he did not mind how tortuously and perfidiously he worked.

    Sir Walter Ralegh

    William Stebbing

  • A planet is said to ascend directly, when in a direct sign; but tortuously, when in a tortuous sign.


British Dictionary definitions for tortuously

tortuous

adjective
  1. twisted or windinga tortuous road
  2. devious or cunninga tortuous mind
  3. intricate
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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 tortuously

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).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tortuously in Medicine

tortuous

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