Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Rolled or coiled together in overlapping whorls, as certain leaves, petals, or shells.
  • transitive v. To coil or fold or cause to coil or fold in overlapping whorls.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make unnecessarily complex.
  • v. To fold or coil into numerous overlapping layers.
  • adj. coiled such that one edge is inside, and one outside the coil, giving a spiral effect in cross section. (A special case of imbricate)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Rolled or wound together, one part upon another; -- said of the leaves of plants in æstivation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Rolled together, or one part over another.
  • n. That which is convoluted.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. practice sophistry; change the meaning of or be vague about in order to mislead or deceive
  • v. curl, wind, or twist together
  • adj. rolled longitudinally upon itself

Etymologies

Latin convolūtus, past participle of convolvere, to convolve; see convolve.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin convolūtum, past participle of convolvere ("to roll together"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A more practical solution, however, turned out to be something called a convolute

    The Seattle Times

  • Ironically, I think this choice illustrates the ‘appalling’ inconvenient truth that politics itself, not merit, does indeed often determine who wins in real, if not American movie, life; that ulterior motives and surface features can and do, at the same time, in contradictory sorts of ways, convolute to bequeath value, and trump substance.

    Cruz gets Academy Award. For what?

  • Fans who do want to see Jason in graduate school or Maggie in the office can turn to fan fiction instead of pressuring the creators to convolute the sources.

    How to Make Superhero Comics Interesting Again » Comics Worth Reading

  • A few times the story pirouettes on its tail to further convolute the proceedings, but a happy reader will lap up every progressive revelation with a grin of joy.

    "Constellations", ed. by Peter Crowther

  • You can divert, rationalize, convolute, and obscure the minor details to your heart's content but one irrefutable fact remains: Cheney misinterpreted the powers of his office and directed officials of the CIA to illegally withhold crucial operational information from Congress.

    CIA claims disputed program was 'never fully operational'

  • I mean completely authentic Mark III H-1s with single axis rolling convolute waist joints, and vintage Skylab A7Ls with micrometeoroid cover layers.

    Spacing Out A Bit: Chicago And The Shuttle

  • I never play a song the same way twice, and my music doesn ' t disguise the melody or reshape it or convolute it so that it ' s unrecognizable.

    Protector of the Soulful Melody

  • The support cast is a bit more steroetyped than usual (I expected Peter Lorre to appear at any moment), but no one will care as the audience obtains a deep look at 1940s Londoners sacrificing for the war cause while the two cops work a case in which every clue they uncover seems to complicate and convolute the investigation.

    No Human Enemy-John Gardner « The Merry Genre Go Round Reviews

  • "I convolute, I divide, I conquerl" the original head cried, as the segments closed in.

    Falcon Street

  • Again, the blind, knee-jerk Hillary-Haters are so anxious to convolute anything in their tick-tick-tick desperation, that they sompletely miss the point of Bill's criticism (that is, Russert's baseless blindsiding question).

    Obama Rejects Bill's Implication That Hillary Was Swiftboated

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