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 But don't squeeze lemon into a latte or even a regular drip that has a splash of milk in it—the lemon juice will curdle any dairy in the cup, and that can sour you on the flavor more than the citrusy tang. Marisa Cohen, Good Housekeeping, 3 Aug. 2022 Substitute canned for whole milk (may curdle if cooked too long at high temperature); coconut milk beverage is fine for drinking or as a substitute for skim, reduced- or low-fat milk. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 20 June 2022 And his cynicism about human nature seemed to curdle into contempt for human beings. Globe Staff,, 26 May 2022 Note: Keep an eye on heat; if too high and mixture starts to curdle, reduce heat. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, 26 May 2022 Then out of nowhere, a familiar feeling begins to curdle in the pit of my stomach. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, 19 May 2022 And allowing a fantasy of 1.5 degrees to outlast its feasibility could curdle hope into bad assumptions, foolish thinking, or worse. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 6 Apr. 2022 This kind of comparison can curdle people’s relationships to one another — and to their own jobs. New York Times, 15 Feb. 2022 Add milk to fill one cup; stir and let sit five minutes to slightly curdle and thicken. Kim Sunée, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near curdle

curd knife



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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Curdle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for curdle


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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