curious

adjective cu·ri·ous \ ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs , ˈkyər- \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of curious

1 a archaic : made carefully
b obsolete : abstruse
c archaic : precisely accurate
2 a : marked by desire to investigate and learn
  • They were curious as to who won the game.
  • The cat was curious about its new environment.
b : marked by inquisitive interest in others' concerns : nosy
  • curious about the neighbors' doings
3 : exciting attention as strange, novel, or unexpected : odd
  • a curious coincidence
  • We were concerned about his curious behavior.

curiousness

noun

curious was our Word of the Day on 05/07/2011. Hear the podcast!

Examples of curious in a Sentence

  1. The cat was naturally curious about its new surroundings.

  2. They were curious to find out who won the game.

  3. We're curious about why you never called us.

  4. I'm curious to know more about her.

  5. She found a curious old clock in the attic.

  6. The birds were engaged in some curious behavior.

  7. Their music is a curious blend of disco and rock.

  8. By a curious coincidence, they bought a house the same day their old one burned down.

Recent Examples of curious from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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."

Origin and Etymology of curious

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

Synonym Discussion of 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


CURIOUS Defined for English Language Learners

curious

adjective

Definition of curious for English Language Learners

  • : having a desire to learn or know more about something or someone

  • : strange, unusual, or unexpected


CURIOUS Defined for Kids

curious

adjective cu·ri·ous \ ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs \

Definition of curious for Students

1 : eager to learn : inquisitive
  • Curious onlookers gathered at the scene.
2 : showing an eagerness to learn
  • a curious expression
3 : attracting attention by being strange or unusual : odd
  • “… I'm a … collector … and I like to look at curious specimens.”
  • —Oliver Butterworth, The Enormous Egg

curiously

adverb


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