curriculum

noun
cur·​ric·​u·​lum | \ kə-ˈri-kyə-ləm \
plural curricula\ kə-​ˈri-​kyə-​lə \ 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

Schools have reacted to the ABA scrutiny and falling passage rates by tweaking curriculum to include more bar-prep courses and trying to intervene early if students appear likely to fail. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "New Test for Law Schools: Do Enough Graduates Pass the Bar?," 13 Jan. 2019 So Giselle quit her job as an assistant property manager to homeschool Brooklyn, who struggled with ADHD, using an online curriculum that prioritized her daughter’s preference for visual learning. Shelley Levitt, Woman's Day, "These 4 Inspirational Women Went to Great Lengths for Their Kids," 4 Dec. 2018 The school curriculum, now used in 36 states, is continuing to grow. Laura Wallis, Glamour, "Meet Two Women Leading the Charge Against Sexual Abuse and Sex Trafficking," 12 Nov. 2018 Every adult in every school district can pressure administrations to include more robust curriculum. Rachel Elizabeth Cargle, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Racism and Patriarchy Is Taught at School," 16 Oct. 2018 Throughout the school year, teachers use the curriculum to teach their students different aspects of financial literacy such as applying for jobs and managing money. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "It's 'Take your child to work day,' and my child took me to her work instead.," 26 Apr. 2018 As The Washington Post reported earlier this week, the organization Enriquez works for has been using the same curriculum for years. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "The Condom Snorting Challenge Is Tide Pods' Final Revenge," 4 Apr. 2018 If their parents accept the offer, the children are taught using a special curriculum. The Economist, "How and why to search for young Einsteins," 22 Mar. 2018 The apprentices, studying to become programmers or engineers, split their time learning a nationally-standardized curriculum and working alongside mentors to learn the ways of the company. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "Looking for an Alternative to College? U.S. Studies German Apprenticeships," 29 Dec. 2018

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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Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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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

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

curriculum

noun
cur·​ric·​u·​lum | \ kə-ˈri-kyə-ləm \
plural curricula\ -​lə \ also curriculums

Kids Definition of curriculum

: all the courses of study offered by a school

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