[ tawr-cher-uh s ]
/ ˈtɔr tʃər əs /


pertaining to, involving, or causing torture or suffering.

Nearby words

  1. tortuous,
  2. tortuously,
  3. torture,
  4. torture porn,
  5. torturer,
  6. torturously,
  7. torula,
  8. torulopsosis,
  9. torulosis,
  10. torulus

Origin of torturous

1490–1500; < Anglo-French; Old French tortureus. See torture, -ous

Related formstor·tur·ous·ly, adverb

Can be confusedtortuous torturous (see usage note at the current entry)

Usage note

Torturous refers specifically to what involves or causes pain or suffering: prisoners working in the torturous heat; torturous memories of past injustice. Some speakers and writers use torturous for tortuous , especially in the senses “twisting, winding” and “convoluted”: a torturous road; torturous descriptions. Others, however, keep the two adjectives (and their corresponding adverbs) separate in all senses: a tortuous (twisting) road; tortuous (convoluted) descriptions; torturous (painful) treatments. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for torturous

Word Origin and History for torturous



late 15c., from Anglo-French torturous, from Old French tortureus, from Latin tortura (see torture).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper