\ 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 The movement is different than how most people train forearms; according to Samuel, most exercises tend to curl our wrists upward. Jeff Tomko, Men's Health, 21 July 2022 The makers of the $400 Supersonic hair dryer upped the ante, charging nearly $600 for a hair tool that claimed to dry and curl or straighten at once. Jessica Teich, Good Housekeeping, 15 July 2022 Think about it — most curl defining creams are meant to simply be applied straight from bottle to damp hair. Essence, 12 July 2022 That’s right—there’s no need to change attachments to curl in different directions. Katie Intner, Harper's BAZAAR, 21 June 2022 For starters, the researchers noted how the seals curl back their whiskers when diving into the ocean. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 17 June 2022 The site is also surrounded by unscalable black fences that curl outward at the top. Kolbie Peterson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 June 2022 From this starting position, simply curl the dumbbell up. Kirk Charles, Men's Health, 7 June 2022 Forecasters say that a Catalina Eddy might form on Sunday, causing moist are to curl ashore, making the marine layer even thicker. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Made for all curl types, this conditioner left our testers’ hair feeling soft and bouncy. SELF, 19 July 2022 After Ayton did a ghost screen for Cam Johnson on the left wing, Devin Booker pinned down Clippers big Ivica Zubac on a screen to free up Ayton's curl from near the left elbow toward the hoop. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 16 July 2022 Ouidad's curl refresh spray puts those woes aside with its formula of nourishing botanical extracts of rose hip, centella, and aloe to help my curls bounce back to life with no residue left behind. ELLE, 13 July 2022 This workout includes everything from a wall sit with biceps curl to a wall sit with overhead press. Perri O. Blumberg, Men's Health, 8 July 2022 Check out our guides to the best conditioners for dry hair and the best curl creams for your money. Jacqueline Saguin, Good Housekeeping, 24 June 2022 With flexible bristles and a cushioned paddle, this brush is designed to comb through all curl patterns, leaving strands detangled. ELLE, 1 July 2022 The position adds more of a challenge to the start of the curl, but eases up toward the finish. Jeff Tomko, Men's Health, 13 June 2022 Custom Curl Cream helps smooth and hydrate every type of curl, from waves to coils. Jillian Ruffo, Harper's BAZAAR, 27 June 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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The first known use of curl was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

29 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Curl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 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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