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

Material from that conference became incorporated in Wilson’s curriculum. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Katy VFW recognizes Seven Lakes HS teacher," 5 June 2018 Argenta credited past superintendents Tony Lux and Mark Sperling for supporting the arts and keeping them prominent in the district’s curriculum. Carole Carlson, Post-Tribune, "Salk educator meshes teaching and advocacy," 31 May 2018 Grades, test scores, and the strength of one’s high-school curriculum still remain at the top of that list. Jeffrey Selingo, The Atlantic, "The Two Most Important College-Admissions Criteria Now Mean Less," 25 May 2018 The company said Tuesday’s curriculum will set the foundation for a long-term diversity and inclusion effort. Michael Boren, Philly.com, "Starbucks offers preview of racial-bias training to address Philadelphia arrests of black men," 23 May 2018 In regular session, the board adopted recommended changes in board policies and administrative regulations, and changes to school curriculums. Laura Groch, sandiegouniontribune.com, "How they voted, May 20," 20 May 2018 In addition to his effort to revamp the group’s school curriculum, Baghdadi appears to have been behind a series of missives in recent months that sought to settle ideological disputes between factions of Islamic State fighters. Joby Warrick, Washington Post, "New clues bolster belief that ISIS leader is still alive — and busy with a chilling new mission," 19 May 2018 The pair drafted a curriculum over the summer and got the green light in October. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "The NFL Player Moonlighting as an Ivy League Professor," 22 Feb. 2019 At the session, a nurse ran through a curriculum about recognizing the signs of postpartum depression. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "Sit in a circle. Talk to other pregnant women. Save your baby’s life?," 2 Nov. 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

15 Mar 2019

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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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