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 Watch the video to see a curious bear shown the door by Harper the hero dog. USA TODAY, 30 May 2023 The curious coloring came as the city celebrated the Vogalonga boat event, created to combat wave motion and to restore Venetian traditions and help spread attention for the environment and nature as well as the architecture Biennale, which opened last weekend. Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, 30 May 2023 Then one evening in 2015, Larry said, a curious message had come into their joint email account. John Kelly, Washington Post, 28 May 2023 During my time as a texter, then a crisis counselor—and finally, today, speaking with other people who have used these platforms—I’ve always been really curious about the different ways in which volunteers end conversations. Lydia Wang, Women's Health, 25 May 2023 The family’s curious goth teenage daughter, Lydia Deetz (Winona Ryder), is the only human able to see the ghosts. Sophia Scorziello, Variety, 16 May 2023 After the heart-wrenching prologue of a pilot (featuring Rashida Jones as a curious IT employee), the story centers on Juliette (Rebecca Ferguson), an engineer who reluctantly agrees to become sheriff of the silo after a loved one's mysterious death. Kristen Baldwin,, 12 May 2023 There’s also the additional curious element of Depp’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 May 2023 Over the past three seasons, Matland’s work has made people deeply curious about clothes that might look basic but that have a hefty price tag which tells a different story. Frances Solá-santiago,, 10 May 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 10 Jun. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on curious

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