Definition of convoluted in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkänvəˌlo͞odəd/


1(Especially of an argument, story, or sentence) extremely complex and difficult to follow: its convoluted narrative encompasses all manner of digressions
More example sentences
  • When Douglas's character smells a rat, the convoluted thriller plot is set in motion.
  • Make sure you stay away from long, convoluted arguments that demand intense concentration to follow.
  • Another problem is that the convoluted narrative constantly conflicts with itself and could never actually add up in real life.
complicated, complex, involved, elaborate, serpentine, labyrinthine, tortuous, tangled, Byzantine;
Rube Goldberg;
confused, confusing, bewildering, baffling
2chiefly technical Intricately folded, twisted, or coiled: walnuts come in hard and convoluted shells
More example sentences
  • He was fully aware he was dreaming, but remained deep within the convoluted folds of his subconscious.
  • The broken remains of the engine room form a short but convoluted route past twisted girders and scattered machinery.
  • There was a convoluted tangle of coloured threads around you, some of which seemed to be paths.



Example sentences
  • This is Jim Hightower saying… How convolutedly convenient!
  • So the convolutedly titled Mitsubishi Evolution VIII MR FQ400 is an astounding proposition.
  • ‘Pivotal’ is the same song, only minor-keyed and more convolutedly structured.


Late 18th century: past participle of convolute, from Latin convolutus, past participle of convolvere 'roll together, intertwine' (see convolve).

  • revolve from Late Middle English:

    The Latin verb volvere had the sense ‘to turn round, roll, tumble’; add re- in front and you get meaning such as ‘turn back, turn round’. This is the basic idea behind revolve and its offshoots: revolution (Late Middle English) which only came to mean the overthrow of a government in 1600, and which developed the form rev for the turning over of a motor in the early 20th century; and revolt (mid 16th century) initially used politically, and developing the sense ‘to make someone turn away in disgust’ in the mid 18th century. The sense ‘roll, tumble’ of volvere developed into vault, both for the sense ‘leap’ (mid 16th century) which came via Old French volter ‘to turn (a horse), gambol’, and for the arch that springs up to form a roof (Middle English). The turning sense is found in voluble (Middle English) initially used to mean ‘turning’, but was used for words rolling out of the mouth by the late 16th century, and in volume (Late Middle English) originally a rolled scroll rather than a book, but with the sense ‘quantity’ coming from an obsolete meaning ‘size or extent (of a book)’ by the early 16th century. Convoluted (late 18th century) comes from convolvere ‘rolled together, intertwined’ (the plant convolvulus, from the same root, that climbs by turning its stem around a support already existed as a word in Latin, where it could also mean a caterpillar that rolls itself up in a leaf); while devolve (Late Middle English) comes from its opposite devolvere ‘to unroll, roll down’; and involve (Late Middle English) from involvere ‘to roll in’.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·vo·lut·ed

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