cur·​ric·​u·​lum | \ kə-ˈri-kyə-ləm How to pronounce curriculum (audio) \
plural curricula\ kə-​ˈri-​kyə-​lə How to pronounce curricula (audio) \ also curriculums

Definition of curriculum

1 : the courses offered by an educational institution the high school curriculum
2 : a set of courses constituting an area of specialization the engineering curriculum the biological sciences curriculum the liberal arts curriculum

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The Different Plural Forms of Curriculum

Curriculum is from New Latin (a post-medieval form of Latin used mainly in churches and schools and for scientific coinages), in which language it means “a course of study.” It shares its ultimate root in classical Latin, where it meant “running” or “course” (as in “race course”), with words such as corridor, courier, and currency, all of which come from Latin currere “to run.”

As is the case with many nouns borrowed directly from Latin, there is often some confusion as to the proper way to form its plural. Both curricula and curriculums are considered correct.

This word is frequently seen in conjunction with vitae; a curriculum vitae (Latin for “course of (one’s) life”) is “a short account of one's career and qualifications prepared typically by an applicant for a position” – in other words, a résumé. Curriculum vitae is abbreviated CV, and is pluralized as curricula vitae.

Examples of curriculum in a Sentence

The college has a liberal arts curriculum.
Recent Examples on the Web The award will support his research into how ocean bubbles play a role in upper ocean dynamics and in air-sea gas exchange and to enrich the curriculum in physical oceanography and outreach activities at LSU and in local communities., "New Orleans, Baton Rouge area People in Business for Aug. 30, 2020," 31 Aug. 2020 Her teacher will use the school’s curriculum and supplement it with other lessons. Susan Dunne,, "‘Learning pods’ gaining popularity in the coronavirus pandemic, but experts warn they could widen Connecticut’s achievement gap," 21 Aug. 2020 Adding a computer science class to the curriculum would be a great investment in the future. Arkansas Online, "Building the future," 4 Oct. 2020 The curriculum includes medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and mock visits. Sarah Kwon,, "To free doctors from computers, far-flung scribes are taking notes," 2 Oct. 2020 The curriculum promises comprehensive study, including basic Hebrew, Jewish history, liturgy, holidays and life cycle events as well as the Jewish perspective on spirituality, values and community., "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 2 Oct. 2020 The Elvis curriculum included not just musicianship but the entire package: costuming, stage movements and proper manipulation of a guitar that might be worshiped or tossed about with abandon, depending on what the moment required. David Kirby, WSJ, "‘Wild Thing’ Review: Out of This World," 2 Oct. 2020 The curriculum includes medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and mock visits. Sarah Kwon, Fortune, "Time-crunched doctors are relying on remote-working scribes to take notes via video call," 30 Sep. 2020 Sivigny praised teachers for their ability to help lay groundwork for the virtual learning plan, and said Carroll needs to enhance and develop the curriculum around it in the future. Pat Stoetzer,, "Carroll County Board of Education candidates discuss issues during forum," 29 Sep. 2020

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

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for curriculum

borrowed from New Latin, going back to Latin, "action of running, course of action, race," from currere "to run" + -i- -i- + -culum, suffix of instrument and place (going back to Indo-European *-tlom) — more at current entry 1

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Time Traveler for curriculum

Time Traveler

The first known use of curriculum was in 1824

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Statistics for curriculum

Last Updated

20 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Curriculum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for curriculum


How to pronounce curriculum (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of curriculum

formal : the courses that are taught by a school, college, etc.


cur·​ric·​u·​lum | \ kə-ˈri-kyə-ləm How to pronounce curriculum (audio) \
plural curricula\ -​lə \ also curriculums

Kids Definition of curriculum

: all the courses of study offered by a school

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