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1. Having or marked by repeated turns or bends; winding or twisting: a tortuous road through the mountains.
2. Not straightforward; circuitous; devious: a tortuous plot; tortuous reasoning.
3. Highly involved; complex: tortuous legal procedures.

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin tortuōsus, from tortus, a twisting, from past participle of torquēre, to twist; see terkw- in Indo-European roots.]

tor′tu·ous·ly adv.
tor′tu·ous·ness n.
Usage Note: Although tortuous and torturous both come from the Latin word torquēre, "to twist," their primary meanings are distinct. Tortuous means "twisting" (a tortuous road) or by extension "complex" or "devious." Torturous refers primarily to torture and the pain associated with it. However, torturous also can be used in the sense of "twisted, strained, belabored" and tortured is an even stronger synonym: a tortured analogy.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.tortuously - with twists and turns
2.tortuously - in a tortuous mannertortuously - in a tortuous manner; "tortuously haggling over the price"


[ˈtɔːtjʊəslɪ] advcontortamente
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References in classic literature ?
When, still a little fellow, he had dragged himself tortuously and by jerks beneath the shadows of its vaults, he seemed, with his human face and his bestial limbs, the natural reptile of that humid and sombre pavement, upon which the shadow of the Romanesque capitals cast so many strange forms.
You are no longer the slow, plodding, puny thing of clay, creeping tortuously upon the ground; you are a part of Nature
Grewgious's idea of looking at a furnished lodging was to get on the opposite side of the street to a house with a suitable bill in the window, and stare at it; and then work his way tortuously to the back of the house, and stare at that; and then not go in, but make similar trials of another house, with the same result; their progress was but slow.
He could conceal his heart; had more endurance; he could swim longer, and steer a canoe better than any of his people; he could shoot straighter, and negotiate more tortuously than any man of his race I knew.
As if the aspiring city had become puffed up in the very ground on which it stood, the ground had so risen about Bleeding Heart Yard that you got into it down a flight of steps which formed no part of the original approach, and got out of it by a low gateway into a maze of shabby streets, which went about and about, tortuously ascending to the level again.
As a result of Defendant Berger's actions, including his tortuously and cruelly leaving (Johnson) to twist in the wind for two weeks, (Johnson) suffered severe adverse emotional, physiological and physical harm," Johnson wrote in the lawsuit.
Earlier, a tip tackle from Dominiko Waqaniburotu had been pored over at tortuously unnecessary length.
But as the music progresses it takes on a much darker hue, culminating in a Lento affettuoso that begins with a poignant lament and develops into a tortuously intense and extremely powerful climax.
Greece's economy returned to recession this year, hammered in part by the imposition of capital controls and a three-week shutdown of banks in June-July as the bailout talks dragged out tortuously without resolution.
Even the most tortuously graphic book - and Fifty Shades is indeed torture in more ways than one - leaves little to the imagination, but when it's on film you're at the mercy of full technicolour glory.
There must have been some people in the city who wondered whether the day would ever come but, thankfully, we've now reached the end of a tortuously long and winding road for the Great Homer Street area.
It is always disguised, tortuously at times, as being in continuity with all that went before.