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Syllabification: tor·tu·ous
Pronunciation: /ˈtôrCH(o͞o)əs

Definition of tortuous in English:


1Full of twists and turns: the route is remote and tortuous
More example sentences
  • Varicose veins are tortuous, twisted, or lengthened veins.
  • The Ryder Cup trail has often been tortuous, twisting and downright tedious, but the rewards to the Scottish economy are expected to be enormous.
  • Eventually, after a particularly tortuous twist, the path opened out and they came to the Cave of the Prophet.
twisting, twisty, twisting and turning, winding, windy, zigzag, sinuous, snaky, serpentine, meandering, circuitous
1.1Excessively lengthy and complex: a tortuous argument
More example sentences
  • Instead of destroying their sculptures, managers have to hand their work over to a different group to complete - a tortuous experience.
  • But where does the inquiry go from here after the tortuous and lengthy taking of the evidence?
  • The classification of tropical karst is highly complex, with a tortuous terminology derived from several languages.
convoluted, complicated, complex, labyrinthine, tangled, tangly, involved, confusing, difficult to follow, involuted, lengthy, overlong, circuitous


late Middle English: via Old French from Latin tortuosus, from tortus 'twisting, a twist', from Latin torquere 'to twist'.


On the difference between tortuous and torturous, see torturous (usage).



Pronunciation: /ˌtôrCHo͞oˈäsitē/
noun (plural tortuosities)
Example sentences
  • The permeance is a composite quantity consisting of the diffusion coefficient, the partition coefficient, the membrane thickness, and the tortuosity of the diffusional path length.
  • The tortuosity of the cytosol, due to the presence of t-tubules and mitochondria, will increase the effective distance Na has to travel from one compartment to the other and thus might reduce the apparent D Na.
  • Thus the main diffusion hindrance for these molecules should be the tortuosity of the diffusion path.


tortuously twisting logic
More example sentences
  • The way that capitalism shifts money from place to place, account to account, in order to make it work for the investor often is tortuously complicated.
  • The only way to reach it is by two-lane roads, most of which twist tortuously through the scenic coastal mountain range or along the rocky Pacific coast.
  • The first sign of life is a tiny vehicle, winding its way tortuously along the thin white thread of a dirt road snaking through the rocky terrain.


Example sentences
  • A focal stenosis on a straight artery without proximal vessel tortuousness or involvement of major side branches is ideal for percutaneous intervention.
  • Murrayfield's media centre, the usual home for the tautology and tortuousness of Scottish rugby-speak, was never like this.
  • The tortuousness of the judiciary, however frustrating it is, does not mutate him from suspect to terrorist.

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