cu·​ri·​ous ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs How to pronounce curious (audio)
: marked by desire to investigate and learn
They were curious as to who won the game.
The cat was curious about its new environment.
: marked by inquisitive interest in others' concerns : nosy
curious about the neighbors' doings
: exciting attention as strange, novel, or unexpected : odd
a curious coincidence
We were concerned about his curious behavior.
archaic : made carefully
archaic : precisely accurate
obsolete : abstruse
curiousness noun

Did you know?

Since the 1300s, "curious" has been variously used to describe things that in some way require, invite, or are characterized by carefulness or inquisitiveness. In so doing, it carries on the legacy of its Latin source, the adjective curiosus, meaning "careful" or "inquisitive." The comparative of "curious" is "more curious," though it is not unusual to encounter the phrase "curiouser and curiouser," made popular by the title character of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland who, Lewis Carroll tells us, "was so much surprised that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English."

Choose the Right Synonym for curious

curious, inquisitive, prying mean interested in what is not one's personal or proper concern.

curious, a neutral term, basically connotes an active desire to learn or to know.

children are curious about everything

inquisitive suggests impertinent and habitual curiosity and persistent quizzing.

dreaded the visits of their inquisitive relatives

prying implies busy meddling and officiousness.

prying neighbors who refuse to mind their own business

Examples of curious in a Sentence

The cat was naturally curious about its new surroundings. They were curious to find out who won the game. We're curious about why you never called us. I'm curious to know more about her. She found a curious old clock in the attic. The birds were engaged in some curious behavior. Their music is a curious blend of disco and rock. By a curious coincidence, they bought a house the same day their old one burned down. See More
Recent Examples on the Web At that inaugural Spaces event in July, all of Musk’s new hires spoke, but none echoed or even addressed their new boss’s theory about a maximally curious superintelligence preserving humanity. David Meyer, Fortune, 20 Nov. 2023 Some of those pursuing it are just casually curious, happy to see an electronic green leaf ping to life, or to throw down some spit into the 23andMe saliva kit. Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker, 20 Nov. 2023 Sharks, being predators, are curious by nature and often investigate something that is new to them, Logan said. Ana Ramirez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Nov. 2023 Pop culture of late, such as The Golden Bachelor, has been curious—and insightful—about love after 50 in a way that feels new and honest. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, 16 Nov. 2023 These outpourings filled up uninhabited valleys with crimson and tangerine rivers of molten rock and were often watched by curious onlookers from the surrounding hills, poked at by scientists, and celebrated by Icelanders as a showcase of their geologically dynamic country’s natural splendor. WIRED, 16 Nov. 2023 The scientific and anecdotal detail in each account is enough to satisfy the curious reader while entertaining the novice one. Angelina Torre, WSJ, 16 Nov. 2023 Any food lovers who are also curious about the history of Ios should head to Diaseli Cheese Museum. Devorah Lev-Tov, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Nov. 2023 Emotionally, children will begin to form opinions at this age and be curious about the world around them. Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 8 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'curious.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French curios, from Latin curiosus careful, inquisitive, from cura cure

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Time Traveler
The first known use of curious was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near curious

Cite this Entry

“Curious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


cu·​ri·​ous ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs How to pronounce curious (audio)
: eager to learn
a cat curious about its new surroundings
: attracting attention by being strange or unusual : odd
a curious old coin
that's curious—they were here yesterday
curiously adverb
curiousness noun

Middle English curious "made carefully, skillful, eager to learn," from early French curios (same meaning), from Latin curiosus "careful, inquisitive," from cura "care, healing" — related to accurate, cure

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