verb (1)
cur·​ry | \ ˈkər-ē How to pronounce curry (audio) , ˈkə-rē \
curried; currying

Definition of curry

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to clean the coat of (an animal, such as a horse) with a currycomb
2 : to treat (tanned leather) especially by incorporating oil or grease
3 : beat, thrash

— see also curry favor


cur·​ry | \ ˈkər-ē How to pronounce curry (audio) , ˈkə-rē \
variants: or less commonly currie
plural curries

Definition of curry (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : a food, dish, or sauce in Indian cuisine seasoned with a mixture of pungent spices also : a food or dish seasoned with curry powder


verb (2)
curried; currying

Definition of curry (Entry 3 of 4)

transitive verb

: to flavor or cook with curry powder or a curry sauce


biographical name
Cur·​ry | \ ˈkər-ē How to pronounce Curry (audio) , ˈkə-rē \

Definition of Curry (Entry 4 of 4)

John Steuart 1897–1946 American painter

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Examples of curry in a Sentence

Noun We had chicken curry for dinner. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of curry.

First Known Use of curry

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1681, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1824, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for curry

Verb (1)

Middle English curreyen, correyen, cunrayen "to clean and comb (a horse), treat (tanned leather)," borrowed from Anglo-French conreier, cunreier, curreier (continental Old French conreer) "to prepare, dress, equip, tidy up, clean and rub down (an animal), cure (herring)," going back to Vulgar Latin *conrēdāre, probably borrowed from Gothic garedan "to make provision for" (with con- con- replacing ga-), from ga-, perfective and collective prefix + -redan, going back to Germanic *rēđan- "to make provision for, decide" read entry 1

Note: As with the related verb arraier, aroier (see array entry 1), the Anglo-French forms conreier, etc., show generalization of the tonic stem of the Old French verb. English has further modified the French word by shifting stress onto the initial syllable. In contrast with array entry 1, the more general meaning of conreier ("provide, equip") never entered English. — The presumption is that *conrēdāre was an early adaptation into spoken Latin of a word used by Goths recruited into or fighting alongside of the Roman army. The etymon is generally attested in Romance languages outside of Romanian: Old Occitan conrezar "to equip," conrear "to provide what is needed," Catalan & Spanish conrear "to cultivate (land)" (the Spanish word perhaps borrowed from Catalan), Italian corredare "to equip, furnish" (with an apparent reflex of open rather than close e).


Tamil kaṟi (or a cognate word in another Dravidian language)

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The first known use of curry was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Curry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for curry



English Language Learners Definition of curry

: a food, dish, or sauce in Indian cooking that is seasoned with a mixture of spices

More from Merriam-Webster on curry

Nglish: Translation of curry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of curry for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about curry


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