winding


winding
winding, sinuous, serpentine, tortuous, flexuous can all mean curving first one way and then another.
Winding, the general and the ordinary term, often implies spiral ascent
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winding stairs

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a winding mountain road

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When applied to things in a horizontal plane it implies little more than weaving from side to side or in and out through soifle length, often without apparent plan
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a winding path through a forest

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a winding cave

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following the serpent lightning's winding track— Shelley

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Sinuous fundamentally suggests frequent departures from a straight or direct line by curving
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streams . . . sinuous or straight, now rapid and now slow— Cowper

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In its extended use where it may imply moral deviation this implication remains strong, but in respect to material things the word tends to stress the presence of curves in every line, bend, and movement and the absence of angularity, awkwardness, or stiffness
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the stealthy terror of the sinuous pard— Thompson

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the sinuous movements of the leading lady

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gardens bright with sinuous rills— Coleridge

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Serpentine implies curving in a pattern suggested by the smooth and flowing curves of a moving snake; it need not imply regularity in the size and shape of the inward and outward curves
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up the heathy waste, [the road] mounts, as you see, in mazes serpentineWordsworth

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As applied to a type of compound curve or to the front of a bureau or sideboard having such a curve the word implies that the bulging or convex curve is in the center.
Tortuous, like sinuous, suggests lack of straightness and directness, but in contrast it stresses the number and intricacy of bendings, twistings, and turnings rather than the constant flow of curves
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the course of the river became more tortuous as we neared its source

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there remained but a tortuous defile for carriages down the center of the street— Hardy

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Flexuous, commoner in technical than general use, basically suggests alternation of gentle opposite curves or an easy zigzag course
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a flexuous leaf margin

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flexuous stems

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In extended use it implies a lack of rigidity in action, and so comes very close to flexible
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[a bacterium that] appears to move by changing the shape of its body which is not rigid but very flexuous and elastic— Biological Abstracts

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René's comings and goings, and each of his flexuous moods— E. P. O'Donnell

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Analogous words: curving, bending, twisting (see CURVE vb): circuitous, *indirect, roundabout: *crooked, devious: meandering (see WANDER)
Antonyms: straight

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms: