Weekly Word is a weekly post intended to illustrate the meaning and use of a single word. The chosen word will begin with a different letter each week, as Louise (my daughter) and I work our way through the alphabet.
Louise posts on her website:
This week’s word begins with the letter T:
Part of Speech:
1. Having, or marked by, repeated turns or bends; winding or twisting.
2. Not straightforward, or morally crooked – as in proceedings, methods, or policy; highly involved; lengthy and /or complex; deceitful; devious
Note: The word, tortuous is not to be confused with torturous. The latter is based on the word torture which is painful and characterised by suffering.
Related Word Forms:
1. winding meandering meandrous wandering twisted twisting twisty bent zigzag sinuous curved crooked serpentine snaky labyrinthine mazy circuitous anfractious indirect roundabout convoluted complicated flexuous involute
2. convoluted involved misleading deceptive deceitful ambiguous tricky devious
Straight straightforward direct linear simple easy uncomplicated uninvolved untwisted rectilinear undeviating open reliable upright honest
Late Middle English (1350–1400) via Old French, from the Latin tortuosus from tortus meaning ‘twisting’ or ‘a twist’, from the Latin torquere ‘to twist’.
Use the Word:
1. The road through the mountains wound tortuously down to the beach, its serpentine form graceful and smooth against the steep and craggy terrain. Yet the beauty of the scene became somewhat marred as the inexperienced driver negotiated each sharp hairpin bend with evident unease.
2. A collective sigh of relief filled the room as the conference drew to a close. After over three hours of poorly delivered speeches, most of which were a mix of ambiguity and tortuousness, no one in the audience was inclined to hide their displeasure from the speakers as they rose to leave.
3. Beneath the warm sun of the summer, when the corkscrew willow is in leaf, the line of each tortuous branch disappears from sight in pursuit of finding some cool place to rest behind the parasol of green…
But in winter all is laid bare and the tortuous route of each twisting, dragon’s claw can be clearly seen, notably when snowflakes break their fall on the tree’s labyrinthine form.