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From Latin anfractuosus, winding


anfractuosity (countable and uncountable, plural anfractuosities)

  1. A winding channel or crevice, such as occur in the depths of the sea or in mountains.
    • 1645, Sir Thomas Urquhart, The Trissotetras, reprinted in The works of sir Thomas Urquhart (1834), T. Maitland ed., p. 95:
      Here endeth the doctrine of the right-angled sphericalls, the whole diatyposis wherof is in the Equisolea or hippocrepidian diagram, whose most intricate amfractuosities, renvoys, various mixture of analogies, and perturbat situation of proportionall termes, cannot choose but be pervious to the understanding of any judicious reader that hath perused this comment aright.
    • 1656 Blount Glossogr., cited in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, V1 P1, p. 322:
    • 1835, William Kirby, On the Power Wisdom and Goodness of God as Manifested in the Creation of Animals and in their History, Habits and Instincts, volume 1, page 182:
      They do not always elevate their polyparies from the depths of the waters to their surface, some extend themselves horizontally upon the bottom of the sea, following its curvatures, declivities, and anfractuosities, and cover the soil of old ocean with an enamelled carpet of various and brilliant colours, sometimes of a single colour as dazzling as the purple of the ancients.
    • 1860, "A Drama on the Sea-Shore (from "The Philosophical Studies of Honore de Balzac)" in The Dial, Volume 1, Moncure Daniel Conway ed., p. 301:
      At this moment, the Sun, sympathizing with these thoughts of love, or of the future, has cast on the tawny sides of this rock, an ardent light; some mountain flowers called attention, the calm and the silence enlarged this anfractuosity, sombre in reality, colored by the dreamer; then it was beautiful with its scant vegetation, its warm chamomillas, its hair of Venus with the velvet leaves; a festival prolonged, magnificent decorations, happy exaltation of human forces!'
    • 1875, H. James Roderick Hudson, "VII Saint Cecilia’s" in The Atlantic monthly, Volume 36, p. 58:
      There are chance anfractuosities of ruin in the upper portions of the Coliseum which offer a very fair imitation of the rugged face of an alpine cliff.
    • 1876, Henry Havard, Picturesque Holland: A journey in the provinces of Friesland, Groningen, Drenthe, Overyssel, Guelders and Limbourg, page 407:
      The quarry is usually entered by an anfractuosity of the mountain.
    • 1897, London Missionary Society Press, The Antananarvio Annual and Madagascar Magazine, volume 6, page 343:
      At Namoroka, a rapid stream, one of the sources of the Kàpilòza, gushes out, already formed, from an anfractuosity in the rock.
    • 1910, The Encyclopædia Britannica Company, The Encyclopædia britannica: A dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information, volume 2, page 4:
      ANFRACTUOSITY (from Lat. anfractuosas, winding), twisting and turning, circuitousness; a word usually employed in the plural to denote winding channels such as occur in the depths of the sea, mountains, or the fissures (sulci) separating the convolutions of the brain, or, by analog, in the mind.
    • 1991, ?? (translator), Michel Leiris (author), Rules of the Game (La Règle du jeu), p. 85:
      “anfractuosity” conveys the idea of a fault or crack in a rock or boulder.
  2. One of the fissures (sulci) separating the convolutions of the brain, or, by analogy, in the mind.
    • 1596, Peter Lowe, Whole Courese of Chirurgerie 241 cited in 1877, A new English Dictionary on Historical Principles V1 P1, 322:
      The vayne goeth aboue the artier, but not right lyne as other parts doe, but in anfractuosities, like unto a Woodbine.
    • 1835, R. Owen, "On the Anatomy of the Cheetah", Felis Schreb, in Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, Volume 1, p. 130:
      The first or most anterior anfractuosity on the superior surface of the brain is longitudinal, and being the continuation and termination of the principal one on the inferior surface, it extends a very short distance from before backwards.
    • 1844, Jean Cruveilhier, The Anatomy of the Human Body, page 734:
      The great anfractuosity, called the fissure of Sylvius, divides the convolutions of the inferior surface into those of the anterior and those of the middle and posterior lobe.
    • 1913 (March), Korish, The Flaming Sword, Volume 27, p. 68:
      The brain is a mass of grey and white matter, somewhat oval in shape, with fissures and indentations dividing it into convolutions or gyri, with smaller subdivisious mapped out by sulci and anfractuosities. (Sulci is the plural of sulcus, which means a furrow. An anfractuosity is a winding or turning.)