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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.tortuousness - a tortuous and twisted shape or positiontortuousness - a tortuous and twisted shape or position; "they built a tree house in the tortuosities of its boughs"; "the acrobat performed incredible contortions"
distorted shape, distortion - a shape resulting from distortion
2.tortuousness - puzzling complexity
complexity, complexness - the quality of being intricate and compounded; "he enjoyed the complexity of modern computers"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
In this study, we confirmed the typical pathological changes, including endothelial cell injury, pericyte apoptosis, capillary hemangioma, and vascular caliber tortuousness, in the DR of diabetic rats via retinal digests stained by periodic acid-Schiff.
5) Secret pride connected with intellectual perversity / tortuousness and a penchant ("impulse") for the "dark side" (crime, lawlessness, anarchy): in this he anticipates E.
* tortuousness (denoted by the term [summation over (i)] [[alpha].sub.i]/2 and measured in grad/km) characterized by the form represented in Fig.
It is only the tortuousness of Altman's exposition that makes his work stand apart.
Manley also invokes a revisionist literature on the Third Period "emphasis [ing] the 'indigenous' sources of the sectarian 'New Line', and question[ing] whether its impact was disastrous." (48) He does acknowledge that "many revisionist historians accept the traditional view" of the period's Soviet origins, which again betrays the tortuousness and fragility of these categories.
However, CTA and MRA of the coronary arteries are technically difficult due to movement, small diameter (3 - 4 mm) and tortuousness of the arteries.
They have, therefore, not only assumed a tactically weak position but they have endangered the whole negotiating process, already notable for its tortuousness. Japan's move also comes a month after a placatory Washington agreed to remove North Korea from its list of terror states.