Borrowed from Anglo-Norman, from Old French tortuos, from Latin tortuōsus, from tortus (“a twisting, winding”).
tortuous (comparative more tortuous, superlative most tortuous)
- (often figurative) Twisted; having many turns; convoluted.
- 2007 October 6, “Slogging on the Home Front”, editorial in The New York Times,
- It still takes almost half a year for the average veteran’s claim for disability benefits to be decided in a tortuous process that can involve four separate hearings.
- 1848, Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, Volume 1, Porter & Coates, p. 243:
- The badger made his dark and tortuous hole on the side of every hill where the copsewood grew thick.
2012, Andrew Martin, Underground Overground: A passenger's history of the Tube, Profile Books, →ISBN, page 109:
But the early Tubes still tended to follow the public streets in order to save money, hence some tortuous curves.
- (astrology) Oblique; applied to the six signs of the zodiac (from Capricorn to Gemini) that ascend most rapidly and obliquely.
- (Can we date this quote by Skeat and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
- Infortunate ascendent tortuous.
- (obsolete) Injurious; tortious.
- This term has strongly negative connotations, perhaps transferred from the similar-sounding adjective torturous.
- Not to be confused with the legal term tortious.