curriculum

noun
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

For example, works donated to university museums are more likely to be put on display, examined regularly by students, faculty and scholars, and incorporated into the school’s academic curriculum. Daniel Grant, WSJ, "Art Donors Increasingly Look to University Museums," 10 Feb. 2019 In 1880, the organization created the Department of Scientific Temperance Instruction, which pushed for a mandatory school curriculum that used scientific data to teach students about the physiological consequences of consuming alcohol. Hannah C. Griggs, The Atlantic, "Teaching Sobriety With ‘The Bottle’," 27 May 2018 The liberal camp in education, an influential network of experts at places like Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE), sees the current school curriculum as unsuited to modern life. The Economist, "Reformists and traditionalists are at war over Russian schools," 26 May 2018 George's curriculum at Thomas's Battersea is comprehensive, to say the least. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Prince George Is Learning About Outer Space in School, Kate Middleton Reveals," 15 Jan. 2019 For many believers this lived-experience curriculum is precisely what the doctor ordered. Justine Harman, Glamour, "These Self-Help Gurus Might Not Have Have Formal Training—But They Promise to Change Your Life," 20 Dec. 2018 The curriculum includes phonics, mathematics, science, foreign language, yoga and a philanthropy program that teaches children kindness and generosity. Laura Groch, sandiegouniontribune.com, "New brewery tasting room, dental treatment facility," 21 June 2018 The curriculum also includes acceptable language and terminology, how to build trust with the minority community, and the proper procedure for processing prisoners. Ryan Ruggiero /, NBC News, "#Pride30: Police officer James Tracy is keeping his community safe — and inclusive," 31 May 2018 The measure would also require students to sing and study the song as part of their curriculum. Violet Law, The Seattle Times, "Hong Kong’s legislature takes up China national anthem bill," 23 Jan. 2019

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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Learn More about curriculum

Statistics for curriculum

Last Updated

24 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for curriculum

The first known use of curriculum was in 1824

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More Definitions for curriculum

curriculum

noun

English Language Learners Definition of curriculum

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

curriculum

noun
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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