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 Charlotte Vignon, the Frick’s former curator of decorative arts, deconstructs the Pair of Candelabra, a recent acquisition. Colin B. Bailey, The New York Review of Books, "Masterpieces Unmediated," 27 Apr. 2021 Pippa Skotnes, curator of the school’s archive, tells the Times that the university’s African film collection was among the losses. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why the Cape Town Fire Is a Devastating Loss for South African Cultural Heritage," 21 Apr. 2021 Timothy Carson, the curator of the Liminality Project, attributes the appeal of a liminal-space image to our desire to examine the overlooked textures of everyday life. Madelyne Xiao, The New Yorker, "The Pleasant Head Trip of Liminal Spaces," 16 Apr. 2021 After live events were canceled, Gordon started working with curator of music George Steel on a virtual series devoted to composer Florence Price., "Amplifying the Black composers who brought spirituals to classical music," 15 Apr. 2021 Kookaburras are typically a draw at zoos — especially among kids, said Amy Phelps, curator of the Children’s Zoo and Animal Resource Center at the San Francisco Zoo. Jessica Flores, San Francisco Chronicle, "S.F. Zoo introducing first kookaburra ambassador since 1994. You'll get to meet him soon," 13 Apr. 2021 The Palace’s plan was to publish the letters online on April 11, 2021, in time for the centenary of Augusta Victoria’s death, says Jörg Kirschstein, a curator of the 2018 exhibition as well as manager of Neues Palace. Wendy Kaur, Town & Country, "What's Inside the Recently Uncovered Private Letters of Queen Victoria?," 11 Apr. 2021 The documentary is narrated by Ultan Guilfoyle, an award-winning filmmaker and co-curator of the Guggenheim Museum’s famous 1998 exhibition, The Art of the Motorcycle. Cheryl Hall, Dallas News, "Dallas’ Bobby Haas’ unlikely journey from financier to filmmaker," 4 Apr. 2021 Amy Weinstein, senior curator of the museum, said the bench is a natural fit for the collection of the museum, which seeks to tell the stories of the victims of the terrorist attacks., "Prayer bench is relocated from Maryland monastery to 9/11 Museum," 4 Apr. 2021

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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Curator.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 May. 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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