cu·ri·os·i·ty | \ ˌkyu̇r-ē-ˈä-s(ə-)tē , ˌkyər- \
plural curiosities

Definition of curiosity 

1 : desire to know:

a : inquisitive interest in others' concerns : nosiness The construction inside their house aroused the curiosity of their neighbors.

b : interest leading to inquiry intellectual curiosity Her natural curiosity led her to ask more questions.

2 archaic : undue nicety or fastidiousness

3a : one that arouses interest especially for uncommon or exotic characteristics Tobacco was once regarded as a curiosity in Europe.

b : an unusual knickknack : curio The antique shop was full of curiosities.

c : a curious trait or aspect

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Synonyms & Antonyms for curiosity


curiousness, inquisitiveness, nosiness


incuriosity, incuriousness

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Examples of curiosity in a Sentence

Her natural curiosity led her to ask more questions. The arrival of a construction crew at their house attracted the curiosity of their neighbors. The movie failed to satisfy her curiosity about the assassination. Tobacco was once a curiosity in Europe. The antique shop was full of curiosities.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Ars Warframe community proved to be a veritable fountain of curiosity and provided a huge list of outstanding questions; without them, this video would have been considerably less informative. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Video: Solving the unsolved mysteries of Warframe with the game’s designers," 6 June 2018 Right now, all of this information is more of a curiosity… and a pretty small drop in the big bucket of cheese research. Alessandra Potenza, The Verge, "What bacteria are right for delicious cheese? We went to a cheese cave to find out," 5 June 2018 While some cases will be cause for provocation, most are asked out of curiosity. Tasnim Ahmed, Allure, "Observing Ramadan Means So Much More to Me Than Just Fasting," 15 May 2018 Virtual reality is still something of a curiosity despite the best efforts of Google and Android phone makers to push it to the mainstream (not to mention PC-centric companies like Microsoft, Valve, and Oculus). Ian Paul, PCWorld, "Try VR for cheap: The Google Store's selling the Daydream View headset for just $50," 17 Apr. 2018 Like anyone else at the moment, your nephew is one bout of curiosity — or, seriously, just one oblivious gift-giver — away from sending his spit to a lab just to see what turns up. Carolyn Hax, idahostatesman, "She’s itching to tell her nephew the dad who raised him is a ‘fake dad’ | Idaho Statesman," 12 Apr. 2018 Malaysia — a family photo shows a toddler's smile of curiosity amid her braided hair and Minnie Mouse shirt — was fatally shot early Thursday morning when a feud on social media erupted into gunfire, police said. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "'Killing is not the answer,' family friend of slain 1-year-old says," 29 Mar. 2018 New casinos calling But, of course, A.C.’s shiny new gaming palaces had piqued my curiosity. Craig Laban,, "Atlantic City restaurants: New casinos, diverse independent spots create rising culinary energy," 6 July 2018 Our curiosity led to a year-long study that uncovered the vast education reform networks connected to the Forbes award. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Who wins the annual Forbes’ “30 Under 30” education awards? New study details telling links between judges and winners," 3 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for curiosity

see curious

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Learn More about curiosity

Statistics for curiosity

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for curiosity

The first known use of curiosity was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for curiosity



English Language Learners Definition of curiosity

: the desire to learn or know more about something or someone

: something that is interesting because it is unusual


cu·ri·os·i·ty | \ ˌkyu̇r-ē-ˈä-sə-tē \
plural curiosities

Kids Definition of curiosity

1 : an eager desire to learn and often to learn things that are another's concern “What's happening?” he asked with curiosity.

2 : something strange or unusual They both sat looking at Harriet as though she were a curiosity put on television to entertain them. —Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy

3 : an object or article valued because it is strange or rare

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Comments on curiosity

What made you want to look up curiosity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


characteristic trappings or dress

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