cur·​dle | \ ˈkər-dᵊl How to pronounce curdle (audio) \
curdled; curdling\ ˈkərd-​liŋ How to pronounce curdling (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 The sweetness of this novel would curdle if it weren’t preserved by a tincture of tragedy that runs through so many of these lives. Ron Charles, Washington Post, "‘This Is Happiness’ is an unforgettable trip to a lost Irish village," 19 Nov. 2019 Whatever the reason, The Discourse has curdled, going back and forth from faux-earnest to fully earnest in announcing its therapeutic aims, and then succumbing at length to a feckless and wholly empty pursuit sustained by inertia. Nathaniel Friedman, The New Republic, "Moments Without Truth," 21 Oct. 2019 Then there’s the water-polluting fecal run-off, the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, and the conscience-curdling animal murder. Wired, "The Race to Bring Meat Alternatives to Scale," 8 Nov. 2019 Helicopters circled overhead, emergency vehicles rushed to a home on a dead-end street, and then a mother’s blood-curdling wail rose above the frenzied, futile attempts to breathe air into her little boy’s lungs, authorities and neighbors said. Tonya Alanez,, "Boy, 2, drowns and his body is pulled from canal," 23 Sep. 2019 By the mid-’90s, the easy intimacy the triplets had assumed began to curdle. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Three Identical Strangers Revisits a Shadowy Scientific Conspiracy," 29 June 2018 From the pastures, the cows produce a daily flow of milk churned into butter, cultured into yogurt, and curdled into wheels of alpine cheese. Danielle Bernabe, National Geographic, "Eat, drink, and herd cattle at this Austrian festival," 15 Sep. 2019 On her second day, however, the atmosphere curdled. Robert Klemko,, "There’s More History to Antonio Brown’s History," 16 Sep. 2019 Wall Street sentiment has curdled on this chain in recent months. Sarah Halzack, Fortune, "Why Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is an ‘Important Test’," 15 July 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

frequentative of curd entry 2

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Time Traveler for curdle

Time Traveler

The first known use of curdle was in 1585

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Statistics for curdle

Last Updated

26 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Curdle.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for curdle


How to pronounce curdle (audio)

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on curdle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curdle

Spanish Central: Translation of curdle

Nglish: Translation of curdle for Spanish Speakers

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