\ˈkərs \

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

affliction, bane, nemesis, scourge

Synonyms: Verb


Antonyms: Noun

benefit, blessing, boon, felicity, godsend, good, manna, windfall

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of curse in a Sentence


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.


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

But Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio has insisted there’s no curse. Brian Straus,, "Mexico Can Dream Bigger at World Cup After Beating Powerhouse Germany," 17 June 2018 In Spirited Away, Chihiro escapes the curse that transforms her parents and runs away into another illusion, a bathhouse full of fairytale creatures. Frances Leech, Longreads, "Forgetting the Madeleine," 3 May 2018 Southgate’s methods have been studied deeply in England over the past days as the country celebrates the curse being lifted. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "World Cup penalty shootouts have nothing to do with luck," 5 July 2018 But the curse talk almost undersold Justify’s remarkable progress. Childs Walker,, "Preakness 2018 preview: Justify's rapid ascent puts race favorite in same company as American Pharoah," 17 May 2018 Asiedu wrote that receiving the diagnosis was both a curse and a blessing. Aneri Pattani,, "Penn State football recruit Nana Asiedu quits due to heart condition," 28 June 2018 Now a teenager, the strong-willed Ella must outwit her evil stepmother, escape hungry ogres and hold on to her best friend, all while getting rid of the troublesome curse and finding her own voice. Andrea Simakis,, "Dobama Theatre's 59th season a celebration of women's work, from Annie Baker's 'John' to Jennifer Haley's 'The Nether'," 7 Apr. 2018 The new Yanuya and Naviti tribes came back to finish first and second, continuing the Malolo curse and sending Angela and her new tribe to tribal council. Rasputin Todd,, "Who was voted off 'Survivor' this week? Did Mason woman advance?," 28 Mar. 2018 At first, Susan responded to biblical passages with curses and profanities. Matthew Cooper, Newsweek, "How the Presidential Candidates Found Their Faith," 2 Apr. 2015

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Bijan — Con: cursed sarcophagus shows up in Kanye’s next Trump freestyle. Bryan Bishop, senior editor — Pro: Indiana Jones may be inside. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "26 arguments for and against opening Egypt’s new mystery sarcophagus," 11 July 2018 The coach cursed into the wind after his first offense jumped offside. Albert Breer,, "What Drama? It’s Business as Usual for Brady and the Patriots," 7 June 2018 The attackers cursed the teen, identified only as a 17-year-old Berlin native called Jonathan, and threatened to kill him. Eldad Beck, Jewish Journal, "German Jewish teen attacked while listening to Israeli music," 5 June 2018 She was forced to get on all fours, wincing and cursing, to descend a spiral staircase to the downstairs bedroom. Brett Martin, Outside Online, "Katie Lee, Our Lady of Glen Canyon," 24 May 2018 The other patients then cursed, screamed and hurled insults at the person for up to 45 minutes at a time. Amy Julia Harris And Shoshana Walter, charlotteobserver, "Drug users got exploited. Disabled patients got hurt. One woman benefited from it all. | Charlotte Observer," 21 May 2018 Technically, the 17th hole on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, one of the most photographed and cursed short holes in all of golf, is a peninsula. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, "Make or break 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass brings fear, adrenaline for players, caddies," 9 May 2018 White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cursed and yelled at White House counsel Donald McGahn during the February confrontation, according to two people familiar with the episode. The Washington Post,, "As a willing warrior for Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders struggles to maintain credibility," 5 May 2018 The Palestinian curses the Christian, who demands an apology. Jonathan Broder, Newsweek, "Ziad Doueiri's Controversial Film 'The Insult' Is Nominated for an Oscar After Boycotts in Lebanon," 26 Jan. 2018

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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Learn More about curse

Phrases Related to curse

curse out

the curse

Statistics for curse

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for curse

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

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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 \

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

What made you want to look up curse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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