Tortuous or Torturous?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between tortuous and torturous?

Tortuous is used to describe something with many twists and turns, like a country road or the plot of a book.
  • It was difficult to drive on the tortuous road.
Torturous describes something that involves pain or suffering.
  • The 14-hour flight to Sydney was torturous.

Tortuous

The adjective tortuous describes something with repeated twists or turns.

Examples:
  • In cities like Athens, poor houses lined narrow and tortuous streets in spite of luxurious public buildings. (Stephen Gardiner)
  • The path to the referendum promises to be tortuous. (New York Times)

Torturous

The adjective torturous describes something that involves suffering or pain.

Examples:
  • Jealousy would be far less torturous if we understood that love is a passion entirely unrelated to our merits. (Paul Eldridge)
  • Life's experiences, whether they be torturous or excruciatingly wonderful, season you somehow and you learn from them. (Mel Gibson)

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are adjectives? List of easily confused words