Posted by: episystechpubs | January 6, 2014

Editor’s Corner: Tortuous vs Torturous

Good morning and welcome back to all of you vacationers! I hope you are rested, relaxed, and ready for the delights the new year brings.

As I was researching a few topics, I found Merriam-Webster’s list of “Top Ten Commonly Confused Words”. Since several of the word pairs and trios are things you’ve asked me about, I thought it might be good to visit these topics. It being a Monday, I’m skipping to number six on the list: tortuous and torturous.


Is an overly-elaborate plan best described as torturous or tortuous?



How to remember it:

Torturous (with a second "r") really does suggest torture, the word it comes from. It’s reserved for things that are very unpleasant, painful, difficult, or slow.

But something that is tricky, complicated, or circuitous – such as an overly elaborate plan – is tortuous. Think of twists and turns, and consider a related word: torque, which refers to a force that causes something to rotate.

Welcome back to the real world!

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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