Part of speech: adjective
Origin: French, late 14th century
Full of twists and turns.
Excessively lengthy and complex.
Examples of Tortuous in a sentence
"Their will-they or-won’t-they dynamic made for a tortuous romance."
"Maddie found taking the SAT to be a tortuous experience."
Popularity Over Time
This word comes from Middle English via Old French. Originally comes from the Latin “tortuosus,” from “tortus,” meaning “twisting, a twist,” from the Latin stem “torquere.”
Did you Know?
At first glance, you might think there’s little difference between “tortuous” and “torturous,” but their core meanings are not the same. While “tortuous” means “full of twists and turns,” “torturous” means “involving torture or excruciating pain.” That extra “R” denotes intense suffering versus being a flowery word for something mildly painful or even excitingly puzzling.