Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Having or marked by repeated turns or bends; winding or twisting.
  • adjective Not straightforward; circuitous; devious.
  • adjective Highly involved; complex.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Full of twists or turns; winding; hence, crooked; zigzag.
  • Oblique: applied in astrology to the six zodiacal signs which ascend most rapidly and obliquely.
  • Figuratively, circuitous; devious; irregular; crooked: especially in a moral sense.
  • Synonyms Sinuous, serpentine, curvilinear, circuitous, indirect, roundabout.
  • An obsolete variant of tortious.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Bent in different directions; wreathed; twisted; winding.
  • adjective Fig.: Deviating from rectitude; indirect; erroneous; deceitful.
  • adjective obsolete Injurious: tortious.
  • adjective (Astrol.), obsolete Oblique; -- applied to the six signs of the zodiac (from Capricorn to Gemini) which ascend most rapidly and obliquely.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Twisted; having many turns; convoluted.
  • adjective obsolete injurious; tortious
  • adjective astrology oblique; applied to the six signs of the zodiac (from Capricorn to Gemini) that ascend most rapidly and obliquely

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

  • adjective marked by repeated turns and bends
  • adjective not straightforward
  • adjective highly complex or intricate and occasionally devious

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin tortuōsus, from tortus, a twisting, from past participle of torquēre, to twist; see terkw- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin tortuosus, from tortus ("a twisting, winding").

Examples

  • The 47-year-old Nigerian immigrant and Woodbridge resident says she escaped what she called a tortuous relationship nine years ago, nearly became homeless, and she is now the owner of Certified Skilled Nursing Services and Associates Inc. in Dumfries.

    News for InsideNova.com

  • Winds and seismic and tectonic disruptions have left their mark in tortuous folds and uplifts, deep gashes, and conical incrustations that hark back far before the age of human folly.

    Pakistan’s Fatal Shore

  • Winds and seismic and tectonic disruptions have left their mark in tortuous folds and uplifts, deep gashes, and conical incrustations that hark back far before the age of human folly.

    Pakistan’s Fatal Shore

  • Winds and seismic and tectonic disruptions have left their mark in tortuous folds and uplifts, deep gashes, and conical incrustations that hark back far before the age of human folly.

    Pakistan’s Fatal Shore

  • Winds and seismic and tectonic disruptions have left their mark in tortuous folds and uplifts, deep gashes, and conical incrustations that hark back far before the age of human folly.

    Pakistan’s Fatal Shore

  • And if it takes the best legal minds at DOJ and the Whitehouse MONTHS to come up with "innovative" legal logic that justifies the current NSA program (as they have claimed), how thin and tortuous is that logic?

    Balkinization

  • And if it takes the best legal minds at DOJ and the Whitehouse MONTHS to come up with "innovative" legal logic that justifies the current NSA program (as they have claimed), how thin and tortuous is that logic?

    Balkinization

  • And if it takes the best legal minds at DOJ and the Whitehouse MONTHS to come up with "innovative" legal logic that justifies the current NSA program (as they have claimed), how thin and tortuous is that logic?

    Balkinization

  • And if it takes the best legal minds at DOJ and the Whitehouse MONTHS to come up with "innovative" legal logic that justifies the current NSA program (as they have claimed), how thin and tortuous is that logic?

    Balkinization

  • And if it takes the best legal minds at DOJ and the Whitehouse MONTHS to come up with "innovative" legal logic that justifies the current NSA program (as they have claimed), how thin and tortuous is that logic?

    Balkinization

Comments

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  • adjective: marked by repeated turns and bends; not straightforward

    Because the logic behind McMahon's side of the debate was so tortuous, his audience came out either completely confused or, worse, feeling they'd been tricked.

    October 19, 2016