\ˈkər-lē \
curlier; curliest

Definition of curly 

1 : tending to curl also : having curls curly hair

2 : having the grain composed of fibers that undulate without crossing and that often form alternating light and dark lines curly maple

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Other Words from curly

curliness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for curly




straight, uncurled

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Examples of curly in a Sentence

She has curly hair and blue eyes. The dog's tail is curly.

Recent Examples on the Web

But curly hair tends to have a mind of its own and sometimes doesn't want to cooperate with your plans for curl domination. Allure, "The 14 Best Gels for Curly Hair," 31 Oct. 2018 Thick and/or curly hair is more likely to become ingrown, which is why ingrown hairs commonly form in the pubic area. Loni Venti, Teen Vogue, "How To Get Rid of Ingrown Hair: 9 Tips to Heal Your Skin," 5 Oct. 2018 These masks have an added benefit for us curly girls. Rachel Charlene Lewis, SELF, "3 Scalp Masks for Dandruff That Didn’t Dry Out My Curly Hair," 28 May 2018 Today, Bibiano writes a popular column on curly and kinky hair for, a site run by the beauty product company Unilever. Marina Lopes, Washington Post, "Black Brazilians are ditching hair straighteners and white standards of beauty," 19 June 2018 True, accounts and the aforementioned salons dedicated to curly and kinky hair do exist. Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "Where Are All the Photos of Curly Haircuts on Social Media?," 13 Apr. 2018 Just as in year's past, models with naturally curly or textured hair had the choice to rock it on the runway—and many did, including Alanna Arrington, Maria Borges, and Aiden Curtiss. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Hair And Makeup Details From The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show," 20 Nov. 2017 Justin Timberlake‘s 3-year-old son is the spitting image of his dad in a photograph the singer shared on Instagram Friday, featuring the curly-haired little boy planting a big kiss on his mom Jessica Biel. Jen Juneau,, "Jessica Biel Gives Son Silas a Sweet Smooch in the 'City of Love' — See Justin Timberlake's Pic," 6 July 2018 At a press conference in Rome last week, two scholars unveiled a small, painted tile of a rosy-cheeked, curly-haired Archangel Gabriel. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Is This Painted Tile Da Vinci’s Earliest Known Work?," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curly.' 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 curly

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for curly

Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for curly

The first known use of curly was in 1598

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More Definitions for curly



English Language Learners Definition of curly

: having curls

: formed into a round shape


\ˈkər-lē \
curlier; curliest

Kids Definition of curly

1 : having coils curly hair

2 : having a curved shape a curly tail

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More from Merriam-Webster on curly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curly

Spanish Central: Translation of curly

Nglish: Translation of curly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of curly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on curly

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


having a pattern of small flowers

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