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

Example Sentences

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 All the innovations that launched the Industrial Revolution, all the machines that have made our lives so much better, came from the minds of people who were once curious kids. Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Dec. 2022 People on both sides of the Windows vs. Mac operating system debate probably just aren’t aware of what the other side has to offer, and some of you may actually be curious. PCMAG, 29 Nov. 2022 Jordan Marshall, 28, a 12th-grade English teacher, was curious and loved different cultures, his mom told CNN on Wednesday, while his friend, Courtez Hall, 33, was a seventh-grade social studies teacher in the city. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 10 Nov. 2022 As any good scientist can tell you, being curious is usually more productive than being critical. Rodger Dean Duncan, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 Entrepreneurs are generally curious and that curiosity leads to discovery. Jason Hennessey, Rolling Stone, 20 Sep. 2022 And once Molly became curious about Peggy, the two animals started to form a friendship, which included rolling around on the ground together, Peggy giving Molly piggyback rides, and sharing nap sessions. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2022 But researchers at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital got curious and wondered how AirPods using the Live Listen feature would stack up against medical hearing aids. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Nov. 2022 The kids, meanwhile, have grown curious about ordinary human life. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

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 6 Dec. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on curious

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