- full of twists, turns, or bends; twisting, winding, or crooked: a tortuous path.
- not direct or straightforward, as in procedure or speech; intricate; circuitous: tortuous negotiations lasting for months.
- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for tortuous on Thesaurus.com
1. bent, sinuous, serpentine. 2. evasive, roundabout, indirect.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for tortuously
Cautiously, tortuously, they made their way ahead for what seemed like ages, pausing frequently to listen.The Radio Boys on the Mexican Border
They crept on tortuously in serpentine curves through the long, dry grasses.Hilda Wade
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
A planet is said to ascend directly, when in a direct sign; but tortuously, when in a tortuous sign.
- twisted or windinga tortuous road
- devious or cunninga tortuous mind
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
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
- 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.