Tortuous Tor"tu*ous, a. [OE. tortuos, L. tortuosus, fr. tortus a twisting, winding, fr. torquere, tortum, to twist: cf. F. tortueux. See {Torture}.] 1. Bent in different directions; wreathed; twisted; winding; as, a tortuous train; a tortuous leaf or corolla. [1913 Webster]

The badger made his dark and tortuous hole on the side of every hill where the copsewood grew thick. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

2. Fig.: Deviating from rectitude; indirect; erroneous; deceitful. [1913 Webster]

That course became somewhat lesstortuous, when the battle of the Boyne had cowed the spirit of the Jakobites. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

3. Injurious: tortious. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

4. (Astrol.) Oblique; -- applied to the six signs of the zodiac (from Capricorn to Gemini) which ascend most rapidly and obliquely. [Obs.] --Skeat. [1913 Webster]

Infortunate ascendent tortuous. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] --{Tor"tu*ous*ly}, adv. -- {Tor"tu*ous*ness}, n. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • tortuous — tortuous, torturous Both words are derived from Latin torquēre meaning ‘to twist’, but their literal meanings are different. The (less common) word torturous is a derivative of the English word torture, whereas tortuous has no such intermediary… …   Modern English usage

  • tortuous — (adj.) late 14c., from Anglo Fr. tortuous (12c.), from L. tortuosus full of twists, winding, from tortus a twisting, winding, from stem of torquere to twist, wring, distort (see THWART (Cf. thwart)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • tortuous — [adj1] very twisted anfractuous, bent, circuitous, convoluted, crooked, curved, flexuous, indirect, involute, labyrinthine, mazy, meandering, meandrous, roundabout, serpentine, sinuous, snaky, twisting, vermiculate, winding, zigzag; concept 581… …   New thesaurus

  • tortuous — I (bending) adjective anfractuous, circuitous, complicated, conniving, contorted, convoluted, curved, curvilinear, indirect, involved, irregular, labyrinthine, mazy, meandering, roundabout, serpentine, sinuate, sinuated, sinuous, snakelike,… …   Law dictionary

  • tortuous — *winding, sinuous, serpentine, flexuous Analogous words: *crooked, devious: roundabout, circuitous, *indirect …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • tortuous — ► ADJECTIVE 1) full of twists and turns. 2) excessively lengthy and complex. DERIVATIVES tortuosity noun tortuously adverb tortuousness noun. ORIGIN Latin tortuosus, from torquere to twist …   English terms dictionary

  • tortuous — [tôr′cho͞o əs] adj. [ME < Anglo Fr < L tortuosus < tortus: see TORT] 1. full of twists, turns, curves, or windings; winding; crooked 2. not straightforward; devious; specif., deceitful or tricky tortuously adv. tortuousness n …   English World dictionary

  • tortuous — [[t]tɔ͟ː(r)tʃuəs[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED: usu ADJ n A tortuous road is full of bends and twists. The only road access is a tortuous mountain route. Syn: winding 2) ADJ GRADED: usu ADJ n A tortuous process or piece of writing is very long and… …   English dictionary

  • tortuous — adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French tortueux, from Latin tortuosus, from tortus twist, from torquēre to twist Date: 15th century 1. marked by repeated twists, bends, or turns ; winding < a tortuous path > 2. a. marked by… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tortuous — tor|tu|ous [ˈto:tʃuəs US ˈto:r ] adj [Date: 1300 1400; : Old French; Origin: tortueux, from Latin tortuosus, from tortus; TORTURE1] 1.) a tortuous path, stream, road etc has a lot of bends in it and is therefore difficult to travel along ▪ a… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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