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torturous, tortuous, tortious

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The words torturous and tortuous come from the same Latin root “torquere,” which means “to twist.” But their meanings today are distinct.

Torturous is related to the word torture, which means “to inflict pain.” In rare cases, it also means “twisted.”

Tortuous simply means “winding,” “twisting,” or sometimes “complex.”

Tortious is a legal word and refers to an act that gives ground for a lawsuit based on tort law.

Example: Without power steering, the tortuous road was torturous to drive in the old truck, and the injured bystanders claimed that maintaining the truck in a dilapidated condition constituted a tortious act.

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