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

Definition of curl

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
3 : twist, contort
4 : to play the game of curling



Definition of curl (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Brody used the inside of his right foot to curl the ball into the back of the net. Aaron Falk, The Salt Lake Tribune, 15 May 2022 There's thin golden rods that flow from the back of her head connecting to the clear-and-white, sharp abstract pieces that curl out from the sides of her head. Gabi Thorne, Allure, 2 May 2022 Though that's hardly for lack of investment: Like the first two installments in the franchise, the latest comes overstuffed with A-list names — can anything be wholly bad when Mads Mikkelsen is there to curl his lip? Leah Greenblatt,, 15 Apr. 2022 The Full Frontal Mascara is a do-it-all mascara that's supposed to volumize, lift, length, and curl your lashes all at once, thanks to its innovative flat-to-fat brush. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, 25 Mar. 2022 Go back and curl the ends, and messily pin them back into the bun. Bella Cacciatore, Glamour, 21 Mar. 2022 Most butterworts are entirely passive, although a few can curl the edges of their leaves inward, covering more of the insect in lethal goo. Stephanie Pain, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Mar. 2022 Two tendrils of hair were left down to curl around her rosy cheeks. ELLE, 6 Mar. 2022 Players furiously sweep the ice along the way to help speed up the stone or curl it around an opponent's on its way to the target. Kelvin Chan And Jimmy Golen, Chron, 21 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Sauté each batch until shrimp just curl and turn pink on both sides, about 3 minutes. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, 11 May 2022 The Scotch Porter twist and curl gel cream provides definition and bounce using moisture that maintains life in your curls. The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 May 2022 As a result, the luxury house’s Noir Couture Waterproof Mascara coats lashes from root to tip, providing definition, length and curl. Celia Shatzman, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 May 2022 This portable preacher curl device looks to solve the problem by putting the whole preacher bench on your lap. Perri O. Blumberg, Men's Health, 10 May 2022 Shea butter, amino acids and other good-for-the-hair emollients make this curl defining cream a coil dream in a bottle. Blake Newby, Essence, 4 May 2022 The final look was lifted and softer than a marshmallow curl pattern. Andrea Navarro, Glamour, 29 Apr. 2022 Paying homage to Josephine Baker, Yara Shahidi wore the famed performer’s signature kiss-curl and accessorized the style with an ethereal veil and bejeweled Art Deco headband. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, 25 Apr. 2022 Target's diverse selection of hair-care products is equally impressive and includes some of the best shampoos, conditioners, curl sprays, and masks on the market. Michelle Rostamian, Allure, 11 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Curl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for curl


\ 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

Curl biographical name

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

Definition of Curl

Robert Floyd 1933–     American chemist

More from Merriam-Webster on curl

Nglish: Translation of curl for Spanish Speakers

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


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