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 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, "A guide to cornstarch, tapioca, potato starch and other thickeners," 22 Feb. 2021 Marie makes Malcolm a pot of macaroni and cheese and the whole thing begins to curdle. Bill Goodykoontz, Detroit Free Press, "‘Malcolm & Marie’ is beautiful but exhausting," 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, "Recipe: Shrimp and Orzo Lemon Soup," 3 Feb. 2021 Yes, these people committed horrendous acts that curdle the soul. Star Tribune, "A transition killing spree," 10 Dec. 2020 Stir constantly until the mixture starts to curdle, about 4 more minutes., "Recipes for a seasonal bounty: Starters," 18 Sep. 2020 In recent years, however, our infatuation with these creations has begun to curdle. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "Big Tech’s Pandemic Power Grab," 12 June 2020 For all his commitment to nonviolence, however, King understood the way frustration can turn into rage and rage can curdle into nihilism, when injustice is too brutal to comprehend and justice is perpetually deferred. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: For San Antonio, Saturday unrest leads to Sunday healing," 31 May 2020 But the conditions the Fuyao workers face are challenging, and the locals’ initial friendliness toward the company curdles into something more complex as the United Automobile Workers begin to organize the factory. David Sims, The Atlantic, "American Factory Is a Complex Chronicle of Global Capitalism," 30 Aug. 2019

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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Last Updated

5 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Curdle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 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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