curriculum

noun

cur·​ric·​u·​lum kə-ˈri-kyə-ləm How to pronounce curriculum (audio)
plural curricula kə-ˈri-kyə-lə How to pronounce curriculum (audio) also curriculums
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 In the northeast Bronx, elementary and middle school students build and race soapbox cars as part of their science curriculum. Bernard Mokam Gabriela Bhaskar, New York Times, 11 May 2024 Each learner's educational journey starts by identifying their purpose, personalizing their curriculum accordingly, and aligning it with their mission and career goals. Brianna Kamienski, USA TODAY, 11 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for curriculum 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'curriculum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1824, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of curriculum was in 1824

Dictionary Entries Near curriculum

Cite this Entry

“Curriculum.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curriculum. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

curriculum

noun
cur·​ric·​u·​lum kə-ˈrik-yə-ləm How to pronounce curriculum (audio)
plural curricula -lə How to pronounce curriculum (audio) also curriculums
: all the courses of study offered by a school
curricular
-lər
adjective
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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