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

But Viktor was sent to that camp by eldest Lyons child Stephen (Rory Kinnear), whose grief after Daniel died trying to save Viktor a few episodes earlier has curdled into a hate for the man Daniel was trying to save. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "HBO’s Years and Years immerses us in our soon-to-be dystopia. Until it chickens out.," 4 Aug. 2019 Once Upon a Time has been widely interpreted as an elegy for a beloved cinematic era that ended with the cultural shifts of the late ’60s, which were embodied by Manson’s curdled, deranged hippiedom. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Quentin Tarantino’s Ultimate Statement on Movie Violence," 2 Aug. 2019 The fact that Mother Jones herself isn’t currently haunting the offices of that magazine with a blood-curdling wail after a take that bad is proof that ghosts don’t exist. Luke O'neil, Longreads, "The Wind Sometimes Feels in Error," 29 July 2019 Now, as Crosby listens to his own imperious words, a flash of regret curdles his expression. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "David Crosby Celebrates His Ornery Self in the Documentary “Remember My Name”," 16 July 2019 The once-absurdist Florida Man meme has undoubtedly curdled into callous jokes at the expense of the vulnerable. Author: Logan Hill, Anchorage Daily News, "Is it OK to laugh at Florida Man?," 16 July 2019 Are things curdling on the set of the action-thriller Gunpowder Milkshake? Clark Collis,, "See Michelle Yeoh tell Lena Headey to 'F--- off!' on set of action-thriller Gunpowder Milkshake," 5 July 2019 Ingredients like sour cream tend to curdle, so opt for veggie or chicken stock instead. Maria Carter, Woman's Day, "How to Cook Anything In a Slow Cooker," 12 Jan. 2016 The rivalry between the Salander sisters was curdling, though the fights stayed on the screen. Lauren Sanchez, Vogue, "The Girl in the Spider’s Web," 5 Nov. 2018

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

1590, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for curdle

frequentative of curd entry 2

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Dictionary Entries near curdle


curd cheese

curd knife



curd mill

cur dog

Statistics for curdle

Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for curdle

The first known use of curdle was in 1590

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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

Comments on curdle

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of or relating to the heavens

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