\ ˈkər(-ə)l How to pronounce curl (audio) \
curled; curling; curls

Definition of curl

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to form into coils or ringlets curl one's hair
2 : to form into a curved shape : twist curled his lip in a sneer
3 : to furnish with curls

intransitive verb

1a : to grow in coils or spirals
b : to form ripples or crinkles bacon curling in a pan
2 : to move or progress in curves or spirals : wind the path curled along the mountainside
4 : to play the game of curling



Definition of curl (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a lock of hair that coils : ringlet
2 : something having a spiral or winding form : coil
3 : the action of curling : the state of being curled
4 : a curved or spiral marking in the grain of wood
5 : a hollow arch of water formed when the crest of a breaking wave spills forward
6 : a usually short pass pattern in football in which a receiver runs downfield and then curves back toward the line of scrimmage
7 : a body-building exercise in which a weight held with the palms facing up is raised and lowered by flexing only the wrists or elbows


biographical name
\ ˈkər(-ə)l How to pronounce Curl (audio) \

Definition of Curl (Entry 3 of 3)

Robert Floyd 1933–     American chemist

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Synonyms for curl

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of curl in a Sentence

Verb She curls her hair every morning. Can you curl your tongue? The baby's fingers were tightly curled. The snake curled itself around its prey. The cat curled into a ball and went to sleep. We saw smoke curling from the cottage chimney. A snake curled around his leg. Noun Her daughter has cute blonde curls. She likes to wear her hair in curls. The conditioner will help you keep the curl of your hair. His hair has a natural curl. He did 12 wrist curls.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tiny raised her arms and flinched to curl away from the blow, but the small man lowered his fist with a snort and a chuckle. Rion Amilcar Scott, The New Yorker, "Shape-ups at Delilah’s," 30 Sep. 2019 This multipurpose tool can also be used to curl, and one reviewer said her curls lasted a full day. Nishka Dhawan, CNN Underscored, "This $100 straightener promises silky, salon-quality hair," 23 Sep. 2019 Standing in the clubhouse about an hour later, Rengifo struggled to curl his fingers. Maria Torres, Los Angeles Times, "Another Angels injury adds to a challenging first year for manager Brad Ausmus," 17 Sep. 2019 Much like its royal sibling, Lash Princess False Lash Effect Mascara Waterproof promises to curl and volumize lashes; this time, with the added benefit of summer-proof coverage. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Essence Cosmetics' Fan-Favorite Lash Princess Mascara Is Now Waterproof," 3 July 2019 The natural lashes are then curled over and attached to the rod with an adhesive to set the lashes. Lindy Segal, Harper's BAZAAR, "What is a Lash Lift? Everything to Know Before Booking," 2 Oct. 2019 Affected leaves also curl and wilt as the disease progresses. Tim Johnson,, "Yellowing basil leaves could mean downy mildew," 26 Aug. 2019 When the wearer bends to the left the tail curls to the right and when the wearer shifts their weight to the left the tail moves right., "Japanese researchers want to give your grandma a robotic monkey tail," 21 Aug. 2019 To achieve the look of voluminous lashes, make sure they're curled straight up, and apply your mascara up (not out). Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "How to Enhance Your Monolids, According to the Experts," 31 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Whether the ladies on your gift list have short strands or long locs, kinky hair, or curls, the embellishments will give their tresses a little extra oomph. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "The Ultimate Gift Guide Of Hair Accessories," 6 Dec. 2019 This two-time Best of Beauty Award winner is deeply black and glossy, with a multitasking formula that lifts, separates, and curls. Alexis Rhiannon, Allure, "13 Cyber Week 2019 Deals That Allure Readers Are Buying," 2 Dec. 2019 My hair was long then, and the stylist straightened it with a blow-dryer and a brush, and then individually re-curled each curl with a wand. Alex Marzano-lesnevich, Harper's magazine, "Body Language," 25 Nov. 2019 Murphy has previously earned first place awards in her division at the World Natural Powerlifting Federation's championships and was named the 2014 Lifter of the Year after winning gold medals in the deadlift, power curl and bench press. Li Cohen, CBS News, "82-year-old female bodybuilder beats down home intruder," 24 Nov. 2019 The flavors of Thanksgiving come through in the seasonings for this soy curl and mushroom gravy combo. Grant Butler, oregonlive, "35 vegan Thanksgiving recipes to be truly thankful for," 12 Nov. 2019 Ordinarily rigid and vertically directed, the pyramid, in Ms. Denes’s drawings, stretches and twists, swells like an egg, curls like a snail, flies like a bird. New York Times, "At 88, Agnes Denes Finally Gets the Retrospective She Deserves," 7 Nov. 2019 While Black hair comes in different textures, it is generally defined by its curls ranging from wavy to very tight coils. NBC News, "Actresses cite lack of Hollywood stylists who 'get' black hair," 12 Nov. 2019 For the shoot, the sisters wore curve-hugging, pastel catsuits in the same color as their perfume bottle and styled their hair in big bouncy curls. Kaitlyn Frey,, "Kim, Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian Team Up for a Nostalgic KKW Fragrance Collection," 7 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curl.' 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 curl


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for curl


Middle English, from crul curly, probably from Middle Dutch; akin to Old High German krol curly

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Time Traveler for curl

Time Traveler

The first known use of curl was in the 14th century

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Statistics for curl

Last Updated

10 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Curl.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for curl


How to pronounce Curl (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of curl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to twist or form (something) into a round or curved shape
: to become curved or rounded
: to move in curves or circles



English Language Learners Definition of curl (Entry 2 of 2)

: a piece of hair that is formed into a round shape
: the ability of hair to form curls
: something that is curved or has a round shape


\ ˈkərl How to pronounce curl (audio) \
curled; curling

Kids Definition of curl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to twist or form into ringlets curl hair
2 : to take or move in a curved form Smoke was curling from the chimney.
curl up
: to arrange the body into a ball You would come into a room, and he might be curled up in a chair, but you wouldn't see him.— E. B. White, Stuart Little



Kids Definition of curl (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a lock of hair that coils : ringlet
2 : something having a spiral or winding form : coil a curl of smoke

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More from Merriam-Webster on curl

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curl

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curl

Spanish Central: Translation of curl

Nglish: Translation of curl for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of curl for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about curl

Comments on curl

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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