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Syllabification: tor·tur·ous
Pronunciation: /ˈtôrCH(ə)rəs

Definition of torturous in English:


Characterized by, involving, or causing excruciating pain or suffering: a torturous eight weeks in their prison camp
More example sentences
  • On the other hand, however, he wouldn't have to continue with that torturous pain anymore.
  • We must all act now, before it is too late to stop our horses and ponies suffering long, torturous journeys to their deaths in foreign abattoirs.
  • Agonizing, torturous hours were lost as he waited outside of Laura's chambers.


late 15th century: from Anglo-Norman French, from torture 'torture'.


Tortuous and torturous have different core meanings. Tortuous meansfull of twists and turns’ or ‘devious, circuitous’: both paths were tortuous and strewn with boulders. Torturous is derived from torture and means ‘involving torture or excruciating pain’. Torturous should be reserved for agonized suffering; it is not a fancy word for ‘painful’ or ‘discomforting,’ as in I found the concert torturous because of the music’s volume.



a torturously hot day
More example sentences
  • As I'm towed - we're hoping the boat's movement will attract a nearby pod of whales for me to see - the ice-chilled waters of Hudson Bay torturously infiltrate my wetsuit.
  • Rose, a young woman abducted and torturously stashed in earthquake ruins last June, was forced to flee to the countryside after her kidnappers made a second attempt.
  • The charitable institution for poor or orphaned girls of clergyman, run by Mr. Brocklehurst, almost starved it occupants, and was torturously strick.

Definition of torturous in:

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