[ tawr-cher-uh s ]
/ ˈtɔr tʃər əs /


pertaining to, involving, or causing torture or suffering.

Origin of torturous

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

Related forms

tor·tur·ous·ly, adverb

Can be confused

tortuous 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