I am writing a creative writing piece in which I have used the cliche "twists and turns". I need another phrase that I could use so that it does not sound boring. The sentence is,

'The bluff rises above the river that twists and turns beneath, trying to find a way out of the maze of mountains.'

closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, Drew, AndyT, Hellion, Mitch Sep 22 '16 at 14:42

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  • You could use 'snakes' or 'wanders' or 'wanders back and forth' or, less ideally, 'weaves'. – JEL Sep 22 '16 at 7:02
  • Why do you need another phrase, when you have to use the cliché? Also, why do they make you use a cliché? – Helmar Sep 22 '16 at 10:16
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    meander verb "flow in a winding course" (of rivers), 1610s, from meander (noun). Of a person, "to wander aimlessly". It's also used of roads and other things, but idiomatically it's very closely associated with rivers in particular. – FumbleFingers Sep 22 '16 at 12:34
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this question belongs on writers.SE, as it is asking for help with writing. – AndyT Sep 22 '16 at 14:14
  • "... the river that flows sinuously beneath..." – Hellion Sep 22 '16 at 14:24

The word you are looking for is Winding - M-W

having a course made up of a series of twists and turns.


move in or take a twisting or spiral course.

Example: The path wound among olive trees.

Your sentence can be modified as,

'The bluff rises above the river that winds beneath, trying to find a way out of the maze of mountains.'


Perhaps writhe. Although it usually refers to movements of the body, there are other uses, e.g., knot theory, where it refers to twisting; http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/writhe

... above the river that writhes below looking for ... sounds good.

  • Snakes writhe. Rivers don't writhe. – aparente001 Sep 22 '16 at 22:38
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    @aparente001 It is a figure of speech. Rivers twist, and they also writhe. – David Handelman Sep 23 '16 at 1:13
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    You are misusing "nonsense" too. The tone of that word is not what is expected on this site. It is fine to disagree here, but we are supposed to be more respectful than that. – aparente001 Sep 23 '16 at 1:22

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