\ 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 Head coach Steve Kerr — one of the best 3-point shooters in NBA history — appreciates Mulder’s ability to curl off screens, knock down open jumpers and guard multiple positions. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors’ Mychal Mulder gives hope to players in hockey-crazed Windsor," 28 Dec. 2020 Double up on ribbon in contrasting shades and curl it with scissors for simple look. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Perfectly Wrap a Gift for Christmas and Beyond," 18 Dec. 2020 In addition to follicle shape, the angle at which hair follicles tunnel into the scalp contribute to whether or not hair will curl, wave, or grow in straight. Amber Rambharose, Allure, "The Science of Beauty: How to Take Care of Curly Hair," 10 Dec. 2020 Drivers with long legs and who are six feet or taller will have to curl around the B-pillar to get in and out. Jonathon Ramsey, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2021 Audi A4 45 Advances a Proven Formula," 14 Dec. 2020 Front Squats Stand up and curl the dumbbells up so that the weights are in front of your chest. Adele Jackson-gibson, Good Housekeeping, "Not Sure How to Build Strength with Dumbbells? This Workout's Got You Covered," 7 Dec. 2020 These hybrid stylers dry, volumize, and curl in one easy shot. Alexis Rhiannon, Allure, "Now's The Time to Buy a Quality Hair-Dryer Without Feeling Bad About The Price Tag," 30 Nov. 2020 After liner has dried, curl the lashes if desired, then wiggle it on. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "6 Cat Eyeliner Tricks to Make Your Eyes Look Bigger and More Striking," 27 Nov. 2020 If Pitts doesn’t play, Dan Mullen and Kyle Trask aren’t going to curl into the fetal position and weep. Christopher Smith, al, "Arkansas vs. Florida betting line, picks, odds and predictions," 13 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After graduating with her master’s degree in business management and working a stint in corporate life, Prado started her hair-care line in 2017 after being unsatisfied with the curl product options on the market. NBC News, "'Heart and hustle': How two Latinx entrepreneurs are paving the way for others to start businesses," 16 Dec. 2020 Prose’s algorithm can match a user’s unique hair to one of more than 14,000 formulations of customized curl styling cream. Rachel Feltman And Jordan Blok, Popular Science, "The 10 most exceptional personal care products from 2020," 4 Dec. 2020 Using your fingertips, apply a styling cream to each individual curl strand by twisting it around the finger. Emily Belfiore, Allure, "The 5 Best Curly Hair Tips We've Ever Learned From Stylists," 20 Nov. 2020 When this happens, hair becomes damaged and won’t hold a curl. Melissa Matthews, SELF, "14 Useful Tips If You Don’t Know How to Use a Curling Iron," 28 Dec. 2020 For those looking for more bounce and curl, T3's award-winning styling wand is the answer. Erin Parker, Glamour, "Sephora After-Christmas Sale 2020: The 13 Best Deals to Shop Now," 25 Dec. 2020 Strands of your existing hair are trimmed in order to match their color, texture and curl. Reginald Dwayne Betts Kiese Makeba Laymon Carina Del Valle Schorske Dessa Irina Aleksander Sam Dolnick Mark Binelli Maggie Jones Rob Hoerburger Jamie Lauren Keiles Devin Gordon Jazmine Hughes Jenna Wortham Jade Chang Taffy Brodesser-akner Kaitlyn Greenidge Rowan Ricardo Phillips Michael Paterniti Wesley Morris Ismail Muhammad Anthony Giardina, New York Times, "Remembering some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year.," 23 Dec. 2020 Faced with a similar read and pressure in Week 16 against the Titans, Hill calmly stepped up in the pocket and delivered a strong pass to Michael Thomas working back on a stick curl. Jeff Nowak,, "What's up with Taysom Hill at QB? Separating hot takes from reality after Saints' slow start," 9 Oct. 2020 Slade Bolden caught a 10-yard curl on 3rd and 9 to move the sticks. Arkansas Democrat-gazette, Arkansas Online, "No. 1 Tide rout Hogs in regular-season finale," 12 Dec. 2020

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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Learn More about curl

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

31 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Curl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on curl

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