cur·​li·​cue | \ ˈkər-lē-ˌkyü How to pronounce curlicue (audio) , -li- \
variants: or less commonly curlycue

Definition of curlicue

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a fancifully curved or spiral figure : flourish


curlicued; curlicuing

Definition of curlicue (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to embellish with curlicues

Examples of curlicue in a Sentence

Noun Curlicues were carved into the wood.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun As provided by nature, the original Kissimmee River was a curlicue of currents 103 miles long. Kevin Spear,, 30 July 2021 In the gallery, viewers encounter a defunct pay phone replicated from fragments of wood and a decorative metal curlicue. Danielle Avram, Dallas News, 7 Apr. 2021 But the only piece of aluminum on the 1971 lemon pig is its curlicue tail. Scottie Andrew, CNN, 31 Dec. 2020 All three drinks are topped with a splash of Topo Chico and served in disposable cups rimmed with Chamoy and chile along with a fruity garnish and playful curlicue straw. Paul Stephen,, 29 Dec. 2020 For all the book’s Hunter S. Thompson curlicues, the essential information is communicated. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 20 Apr. 2020 See more updates More live coverage: Markets U.S. New York Merle Dry, 55, who died on Wednesday in a hospital in Tulsa, Okla., trimmed the hedges at Oral Roberts University into topiary birds and curlicues. Ellen Barry, New York Times, 22 Mar. 2020 His trailing leg embroiders the glide with lariat-like curlicues, but what draws a viewer’s eye, hypnotically, is the motor: the spiraling, snaking motion of those hips. Brian Seibert, New York Times, 18 Dec. 2019 However, the director can't resist a fussy curlicue — in this case having all four Glorias become powerful witches while the sexist interviewer is sucked out of the studio by a giant red Wizard of Oz-style tornado. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curlicue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of curlicue


1843, in the meaning defined above


1844, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for curlicue


curly + cue a braid of hair

Learn More About curlicue

Time Traveler for curlicue

Time Traveler

The first known use of curlicue was in 1843

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near curlicue




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for curlicue

Cite this Entry

“Curlicue.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for curlicue



English Language Learners Definition of curlicue

: a decoratively curved line or shape


cur·​li·​cue | \ ˈkər-li-ˌkyü How to pronounce curlicue (audio) \

Kids Definition of curlicue

: a fancy shape having curves in it

More from Merriam-Webster on curlicue

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curlicue


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!