\ ˈkərs How to pronounce curse (audio) \

Definition of curse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one : imprecation People believe that there is a curse on the house.
2 : a profane or obscene oath or word In an antechamber, his lieutenants suddenly heard the shattering of glass and angry curses.— Sam Moses
3 : something that is cursed or accursed "I … will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth." — Jeremiah 26:6 (King James Version)
4 : evil or misfortune that comes as if in response to imprecation or as retribution … intolerance is the greatest curse of every land …— Kenneth Roberts
5 : a cause of great harm or misfortune : torment His fame turned out to be a curse, not a blessing.
6 : menstruation used with the


cursed; cursing

Definition of curse (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to use profanely insolent language against : blaspheme cursing his god
2a : to call upon divine or supernatural power to send injury upon He was cursed and fears he will die.
b : to execrate in fervent and often profane terms cursed by future generations unless we act now
3 : to bring great evil upon : afflict a land cursed with famine

intransitive verb

: to utter imprecations : swear cursing loudly

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Synonyms & Antonyms for curse

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of curse in a Sentence

Noun I heard him utter a curse before the microphone was shut off. The witch pronounced a curse in some strange language. People believe that someone put a curse on the house. His fame turned out to be a curse, not a blessing. Verb He cursed himself for being so careless. She cursed her bad luck. In the book the evil witch curses the villagers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Justin Fields will break Ohio State’s NFL quarterback curse, writes Nathan Baird, and one statistic all but guarantees it. Matt Goul, cleveland, "NFL Draft 2021 preview: Everything to know for the Browns, Ohio State and Cleveland," 28 Apr. 2021 In Marston Mills, the manager of The Mills Air Service, Chris Siderwicz, gave a more nuanced answer when asked about a possible curse., "As the gender reveal party death toll mounts, people ask ‘Why???’," 19 Apr. 2021 Two detectives investigate a murder scene in a haunted house that passes on a ghostly curse to those who dare enter it. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week ‘Pulp Fiction’ on BBC America and IFC," 9 Apr. 2021 That fierce and funny view of the world was at once a boon and a curse. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Prince Philip’s Death and the Last Embers of British Stoicism," 9 Apr. 2021 The Firestarter is a talisman as well as a curse; non-human powers want it, and now Taryn’s sin of revenge has laid her open to attack, and not just from one quarter. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: ‘The Absolute Book’ Review," 2 Apr. 2021 Her right hand was frozen to a rock, her left was up in the air, raised in a curse. Washington Post, "In Leonardtown, Md., final recognition for a ‘witch’ who died 300 years ago," 1 Mar. 2021 In November 2019, Hanks -- who came under fire for defending the use of the n-word and previously went viral for speaking in the Jamaican dialect at the 2020 Golden Globes -- admitted that having Tom Hanks as his dad was both a blessing and a curse. Toyin Owoseje, CNN, "Chet Hanks releases risqué 'White Boy Summer' teaser video," 12 Apr. 2021 Social media has been both a blessing and a curse in our relationship to Botox. New York Times, "How Barely-There Botox Became the Norm," 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Wands outstretched and shouting incantations, prominent Democrats have begun to curse our language. Zachary Evans, National Review, "Democrats Burn the Dictionary: Why AOC’s Border Newspeak Should Be Ditched," 31 Mar. 2021 After days of dialing and hours on hold, some scream and curse once someone finally answers. Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle, "Is California's EDD fixing its problems? Here's what agents say from the inside," 19 Mar. 2021 The aides also said Cuomo and staff members, including his top aide, Melissa DeRosa, would scream and curse at subordinates over small stumbles, like misspelling names., "For some women, working for Cuomo is the ‘worst place to be’," 13 Mar. 2021 Regulars can thank — or curse — the pandemic for that, said Jeff Barnard of the Bar X Group, which purchased the business last year from Holladay City. Kathy Stephenson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "This famed bar transforms into a restaurant — and the garlic burgers are back," 4 Dec. 2020 In mid-May, police visited his mother at her rural home to discuss his activities, prompting him to curse the officers in his next video. Los Angeles Times, "A Thai dissident was kidnapped. When police had no answers, his sister began to investigate," 29 Dec. 2020 His team was close — curse-the-basketball-gods close, blame-the-refs close. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "The Rockets and Warriors are in new territory, and it’s not good," 21 Dec. 2020 Jim Caldwell has a chance to make history, and break a long-standing Detroit Lions curse. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "Jim Caldwell interviews with Houston Texans, tries to break Detroit Lions head coach curse," 21 Dec. 2020 The sirens will go off, and people will curse the prematurely maskless. Star Tribune, "Lileks: Who knew masks prevented sirens," 11 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curse.' 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 curse


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for curse


Middle English curs, going back to Old English, of uncertain origin


Middle English cursen, going back to Old English cursian, probably derivative of curs curse entry 1

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Time Traveler for curse

Time Traveler

The first known use of curse was before the 12th century

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Statistics for curse

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Curse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for curse



English Language Learners Definition of curse

: an offensive word that people say when they are angry
: magical words that are said to cause trouble or bad luck for someone or the condition that results when such words are said
: a cause of trouble or bad luck


\ ˈkərs How to pronounce curse (audio) \

Kids Definition of curse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a series of words calling for harm to come to someone
2 : a word or an expression used in swearing or in calling for harm to come to someone
3 : evil or misfortune that comes as if in answer to someone's request The land suffered the curse of drought.
4 : a cause of great harm or evil All this money has been nothing but a curse.


cursed; cursing

Kids Definition of curse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to call upon divine power to send harm or evil upon He cursed his enemies.
3 : to bring unhappiness or evil upon : afflict
4 : to say or think bad things about (someone or something) He cursed the unfairness of the world.

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Comments on curse

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