cur·​dle | \ ˈkər-dᵊl How to pronounce curdle (audio) \
curdled; curdling\ ˈkərd-​liŋ How to pronounce curdle (audio) , ˈkər-​dᵊl-​iŋ \

Definition of curdle

intransitive verb

1 : to form curds also : to congeal as if by forming curds a scream curdled in her throat
2 : to go bad or wrong : spoil

transitive verb

1 : to cause curds to form in curdled milk
2 : spoil, sour

Examples of curdle in a Sentence

Too much heat will make the custard curdle. Too much heat will curdle the custard.
Recent Examples on the Web Fan was studying the shadows of the Asian-American experience—and the experience of Asian-American women, in particular, in which ambient fear can curdle suddenly into outright violence. Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, 29 Mar. 2021 Its broader subject, though, is the ease with which cynicism can curdle into cruelty. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, 26 Feb. 2021 Cornstarch, as well as flour, helps puddings and custards by allowing the eggs to properly set at a higher temperature, which often gets dangerously close to where the eggs can curdle. Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2021 Marie makes Malcolm a pot of macaroni and cheese and the whole thing begins to curdle. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, 5 Feb. 2021 Whisking constantly, slowly pour yolk mixture into hot soup (make sure the soup is off the heat, or the eggs may curdle). Star Tribune, 3 Feb. 2021 Yes, these people committed horrendous acts that curdle the soul. Star Tribune, 10 Dec. 2020 Stir constantly until the mixture starts to curdle, about 4 more minutes., 18 Sep. 2020 In recent years, however, our infatuation with these creations has begun to curdle. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, 12 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curdle.' 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 curdle

1585, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for curdle

metathetic variant of cruddle, crudle, frequentative of crud entry 2

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Cite this Entry

“Curdle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for curdle



English Language Learners Definition of curdle

: to thicken and separate into liquids and solids : to form curds


cur·​dle | \ ˈkər-dᵊl How to pronounce curdle (audio) \
curdled; curdling

Kids Definition of curdle

: to thicken or cause to become thickened with or as if with curds The milk curdled.

More from Merriam-Webster on curdle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curdle

Nglish: Translation of curdle for Spanish Speakers


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