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


Curlicues were carved into the wood.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The band is simultaneously meticulous and goofy: Ligon’s solos are dynamic; Perrin and McDonough navigate every style and curlicue arrangement with ease. John Lingan, Washington Post, "Why NRBQ never really needed a hit record to measure its success," 16 Aug. 2019 Serebrennikov, working with cinematographer Vladislav Opelyants, peers at this world through a veil of black-and-white nostalgia, tinted by occasional warm bursts of color and music video-style graphic curlicues. Justin Chang,, "Review: ‘Leto’ is a vibrant portrait of Leningrad’s underground ’80s rock scene," 19 June 2019 Then, LeBlanc hums the song's curlicue guitar intro. Matt Wake |,, "Muscle Shoals singer goes rock for standout album," 4 June 2019 Made of resin and brass and balanced on curlicue legs, the beast is part of a 65-piece home collection. Sarah Medford, WSJ, "Maison & Objet 2019: Best in Show From the Paris Design Fair," 25 Jan. 2019 Where Legion’s plotting is ultimately pretty simple, The Magicians keeps twisting itself into curlicues, tighter and tighter with every season. Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "FX’s Legion, Syfy’s The Magicians, and the reign of BIG MOMENT TV," 8 Apr. 2018 The engine and cars of the railroad had the distinctive curlicues and filigree of Emett’s illustrations. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Air and Space Museum used to feature flying machines of the strangest sort," 27 July 2019 Even if your prose taste runs to curlicue and adornment (mine does), the restraint feels significant. Parul Sehgal, New York Times, "In ‘The Nickel Boys,’ Colson Whitehead Continues to Make a Classic American Genre His Own," 11 July 2019 From Home curlicues this borderline self-loathing into its themes about fake news and other manipulations of reality. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Spider-Man: Far From Home turns a class-conscious hero into a tech bro," 3 July 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for curlicue

Last Updated

24 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for curlicue

The first known use of curlicue was in 1843

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curlicue

Comments on curlicue

What made you want to look up curlicue? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not constant or steady

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