\ ˈkər-lē How to pronounce curly (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from curly

curliness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for curly




straight, uncurled

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of curly in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Within months of the slaying of their curly-haired first-grader Avielle in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the couple launched The Avielle Foundation with the goal of trying to prevent others from suffering such tragedies. Pat Eaton-robb, The Seattle Times, "Newtown dad who probed violence dies in apparent suicide," 25 Mar. 2019 The second photo in his post, when scrolled right, depicts a curly-haired baby Jack, with his smiling pop. Kaitlin Menza, Woman's Day, "Luke Perry's Children Posted Tributes to Their Dad on Instagram," 6 Mar. 2019 The curly-haired 17-year-old struck the soldiers outside her West Bank home in frustration after learning that troops wounded a cousin in nearby clashes. Mohammed Daraghmeh, Fox News, "Palestinian teen icon says she has a 'political future'," 31 July 2018 Those who grew up in the 1980s like Lakshmi most often had hair disasters around perms, which became more popular as big curly hair became the look. Elizabeth Denton, Allure, "Padma Lakshmi's '80s Perm "Mistake" Is My Favorite Thing on Instagram Today," 5 Apr. 2019 West's curly hair is pulled into sleek pigtails by her mom's hairstylist Chris Appleton. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "North West, Age Five, Stars On Her First Solo Magazine Cover," 22 Feb. 2019 Remember when mousse was the only option for curly hair? Rachel Nussbaum, Glamour, "How to Figure Out Your Curl Type and Why It Actually Helps," 14 Jan. 2019 Judges and barristers sweat beneath their curly horsehair wigs and black robes. The Economist, "As temperatures rise, English lawyers’ costumes look odder than ever," 5 July 2018 Tri-color, curly wigs in the free-flowing hair-style of Guillermo Ochoa, the popular Mexican goalkeeper, were especially ubiquitous. Patrick J. Mcdonnell,, "In Mexico the joy continues as national team wins again in the World Cup," 24 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.

See More

First Known Use of curly

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about curly

Statistics for curly

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for curly

The first known use of curly was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for curly



English Language Learners Definition of curly

: having curls
: formed into a round shape


\ ˈkər-lē How to pronounce curly (audio) \
curlier; curliest

Kids Definition of curly

1 : having coils curly hair
2 : having a curved shape a curly tail

Keep scrolling for more

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).


something valued as if it were money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things 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!