- tortuous, torturousBoth words are derived from Latin torquēre meaning ‘to twist’, but their literal meanings are different. The (less common) word torturous is a derivative of the English word torture, whereas tortuous has no such intermediary noun. A tortuous route is one that is twisting and winding, and a torturous illness or anxiety is one that is extremely painful. It is in their figurative uses, in which both words mean ‘difficult or complex’, that the overlap is most noticeable. A tortuous judgement is one that has many complicating features, and a torturous judgement is one that is painfully difficult to make; these are two aspects of a similar outcome. Tortuous is more common in this range of meanings and is usually the better choice.
Modern English usage. 2014.
Look at other dictionaries:
Torturous — Tor tur*ous (t[^o]r t[ u]r*[u^]s), a. Involving, or pertaining to, torture. [R.] The torturous crucifixion. I. Disraeli. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
torturous — (adj.) late 15c., from Anglo Fr. torturous, from O.Fr. tortureus, from L. tortura (see TORTURE (Cf. torture)) … Etymology dictionary
torturous — index insufferable, painful Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 … Law dictionary
torturous — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ characterized by pain or suffering. DERIVATIVES torturously adverb … English terms dictionary
torturous — tor•tur•ous [[t]ˈtɔr tʃər əs[/t]] adj. use pertaining to, involving, or causing torture or suffering • Etymology: 1490–1500; < AF; OF tortureus. See torture, ous tor′tur•ous•ly, adv. usage: torturous refers specifically to what involves or… … From formal English to slang
torturous — torturously, adv. /tawr cheuhr euhs/, adj. pertaining to, involving, or causing torture or suffering. [1490 1500; < AF; OF tortureus. See TORTURE, OUS] Usage. TORTUROUS refers specifically to what involves or causes pain or suffering: prisoners… … Universalium
torturous — adjective Date: 15th century 1. a. causing torture < torturous inquisitions > b. very unpleasant or painful < a torturous day > < torturous self doubts > 2. painfully difficult or slow < the torturous course of the negotiations > • … New Collegiate Dictionary
torturous — [[t]tɔ͟ː(r)tʃərəs[/t]] ADJ GRADED Something that is torturous is extremely painful and causes great suffering. His breathing was torturous... This is a torturous, agonizing way to kill someone … English dictionary
torturous — tor|tur|ous [ tɔrtʃərəs ] adjective 1. ) causing extreme physical pain: torturous beatings 2. ) causing a mentally or physically uncomfortable feeling: torturous memories … Usage of the words and phrases in modern English
torturous — UK [ˈtɔː(r)tʃərəs] / US [ˈtɔrtʃərəs] adjective 1) causing extreme physical pain torturous beatings 2) causing a mentally or physically uncomfortable feeling torturous memories … English dictionary