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

That the fate of the Eastern Conference and curiosity over Zach LaVine’s mindset with a rehabbed knee and a healthy bank account has risen to that level is a coup for the NBA. Phil Rosenthal,, "With ESPN's help, NBA is becoming a year-round concern for sports fans," 9 July 2018 Of course, to dismiss the terrazzo revival as nostalgic curiosity is doing it a disservice—1970s architecture and interiors have soared in popularity lately. Jessica Furseth, Curbed, "How terrazzo made a comeback," 13 June 2018 More: Anthony Bourdain's culinary curiosity took him to Ohio once. Taylor Jade Powell,, "P.G. Sittenfeld pays tribute to Anthony Bourdain: 'This 3-Way's for you'," 12 June 2018 Open-minded curiosity can also teach much about another foreigner in our midst: the American suburb. Anthony Alofsin, The Atlantic, "A Defense of the Suburbs," 6 June 2018 After reading one too many multi-paragraph-long Facebook posts from friend-quaintences in their post-workout glee, curiosity got the best of me. Grace Dickinson,, "Which Philly-area spin studio classes are worth the hype and heavy price tag?," 29 May 2018 As curiosity grew about whether or not Thomas Markle would be present to walk his daughter down the aisle to marry Prince Harry, the royal couple asked for privacy. Leora Arnowitz, Fox News, "Meghan Markle's father will not attend the royal wedding following several days of controversy, indecision," 17 May 2018 But if artificial intelligence is really going to compete with natural intelligence, more childlike insatiable curiosity may help. Alison Gopnik, WSJ, "Curiosity Is a New Power in Artificial Intelligence," 4 May 2018 Among those curiosities are rustic tools dating back to 1700s New England, metal gas station signs from the 1950s, original black and white family portraits, antique china, baby carriages, and vintage toys. Katherine Lagomarsino, Country Living, "Natural Born Picker: Meet the Man In Charge of Buying Antiques for Cracker Barrel," 11 Apr. 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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Statistics for curiosity

Last Updated

11 Oct 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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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