cu·​ra·​tor | \ ˈkyu̇r-ˌā-tər How to pronounce curator (audio) , ˈkyər-; kyu̇-ˈrā-; ˈkyu̇r-ə-, ˈkyər- How to pronounce curator (audio) \

Definition of curator

: one who has the care and superintendence of something especially : one in charge of a museum, zoo, or other place of exhibit

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Other Words from curator

curatorial \ ˌkyu̇r-​ə-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​əl How to pronounce curator (audio) , ˌkyər-​ \ adjective
curatorship \ ˈkyu̇r-​ˌā-​tər-​ˌship How to pronounce curator (audio) , ˈkyər-​ ; kyu̇-​ˈrā-​ ; ˈkyu̇r-​ə-​ , ˈkyər-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

In a good-sized art museum, each curator is generally responsible for a single department or collection: European painting, Asian sculpture, Native American art, and so on. Curatorial duties include acquiring new artworks, caring for and repairing objects already owned, discovering frauds and counterfeits, lending artworks to other museums, and mounting exhibitions of everything from Greek sculpture to 20th-century clothing.

Examples of curator in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The curator and scholar who specializes in African photography, art, textiles and fashion draws on her collection of historical and contemporary photographs of African girls and women for a striking visual history spanning decades. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "10 must-read Black History Month book recommendations: Cicely Tyson, Angie Thomas and more," 4 Feb. 2021 John Kiseda, the animal curator at the facility, is hopeful the wolves will have adjusted to their new surroundings by the time the zoo reopens on Feb. 10. Anton L. Delgado, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Zoo sends Mexican gray wolves packing as officials survey imperiled species," 2 Feb. 2021 Curator Aimee Ng’s exegesis of Agnolo Bronzino’s icily elegant 1550-55 portrait of Ludovico Capponi, which the curator recounted while sipping on an Aperol spritz, a classic Italian cocktail. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Leery about visiting galleries, museums, in a pandemic? Check out online possibilities recommended by local arts leaders," 17 Jan. 2021 The curator also managed to write articles during his time with the fair. Christopher Mosley, Dallas News, "Dallas curator Brandon Kennedy says the art scene needs to ‘come up with new models’," 17 Dec. 2020 Suddenly the art curator had time to explore her adopted hometown of New York City. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Ten Best Books About Travel of 2020," 25 Nov. 2020 Shawn Yuan, the museum’s associate curator of Asian art, confirms both notions. Deborah Martin,, "Rare jewelry in ‘Exquisite Adornment’ exhibit will expand San Antonio Museum of Art’s Asian collection," 16 Nov. 2020 Yet according to Letizia Treves, the curator who oversaw the acquisition and has now built a groundbreaking exhibition around the painting that charts Artemisia’s career with unprecedented depth and sensitivity, this was entirely coincidental. Liam Hess, Vogue, "In London, the Most Famous “Great Woman Artist” Finally Gets Her Due," 14 Nov. 2020 The multidisciplinary artist isn’t the only curator returning to MOCAD after a tumultuous year for the local institution. Ryan Patrick Hooper, Detroit Free Press, "MOCAD makes changes to its executive committee, brings back laid-off curator," 27 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curator.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of curator

1561, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for curator

borrowed from Latin cūrātor "one who looks after, superintendent, guardian," from cūrāre "to watch over, attend" + -tor, agent suffix — more at cure entry 2

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Time Traveler for curator

Time Traveler

The first known use of curator was in 1561

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Statistics for curator

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Curator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for curator



English Language Learners Definition of curator

: a person who is in charge of the things in a museum, zoo, etc.


cu·​ra·​tor | \ ˈkyu̇r-ˌā-tər How to pronounce curator (audio) , kyu̇-ˈrā-, ˈkyu̇r-ə- \

Kids Definition of curator

: a person in charge of a museum or zoo


cu·​ra·​tor | \ ˈkyu̇r-ˌā-tər, kyu̇-ˈrā-tər How to pronounce curator (audio) \

Legal Definition of curator

in the civil law of Louisiana : a person appointed by a court to care for the property of an absent person or to care for the person or property of someone mentally incapable of doing so — compare committee, conservator, guardian, interdict, tutor

Other Words from curator

curatorship noun

History and Etymology for curator

Latin, guardian, from curare to take care of

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