\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for curse

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Now 25 games into the Pacers’ season, coach Nate McMillan’s wealth of depth is a blessing and a curse. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "Holiday brothers take over fourth quarter for Pacers in comeback win over Celtics," 12 Dec. 2019 Was the final win of the winning streak a blessing or a curse? Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "These are the longest winning streaks in Bucks history, featuring a whole lot of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar," 6 Dec. 2019 For those facing buyouts, the process can be both a blessing and curse. David A. Lieb,, "Home buyouts split apart a flood-prone Missouri town," 25 Nov. 2019 Ranch manager Farron Sultemeier calls the mesquite a blessing and a curse. Richard A. Marini,, "Argentina helping to improve the native Texas mesquite," 22 Oct. 2019 Game Boy has a long history—and that's both a blessing and a curse. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "The Analogue Pocket Is the Next-Gen Game Boy You Never Knew You Wanted," 16 Oct. 2019 And that’s a blessing and curse, because with all the praise more attention from defenses is sure to follow. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions rookie T.J. Hockenson 'can handle anything that comes his way’," 12 Sep. 2019 Jayron Kearse’s massive 6-foot-5 frame is both a blessing and a curse. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Vikings having to use versatile safety Jayron Kearse as cornerback, too," 9 Sep. 2019 The blessing and curse of Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or even Google Docs is that each commingles so many activities together. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "I Tried to Limit My Screen Time," 5 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Patrick Reed, whose caddie was benched for shoving a fan who had cursed Reed from close range Saturday, built a 6-up lead through seven holes before putting away C.T. Pan to win for the first time this week. Doug Ferguson, The Denver Post, "Tiger Woods and U.S. team rallies to win Presidents Cup again," 14 Dec. 2019 Gordon Monson of the Salt Lake Tribune: Utah is one of many good teams cursed by the ridiculous College Football Playoff. oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks should sew up the Pac-12 North title against Arizona: Issues & Answers," 15 Nov. 2019 Research also found that people who cursed while squeezing a hand vice were able to squeeze harder and longer. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Get more out of your workout by dropping an F-bomb," 30 Oct. 2019 Cannibalism, cursing and unlikely friendships ensue. Lila Seidman, Glendale News-Press, "How Albuquerque became post-apocalyptic Glendale in Netflix’s ‘Daybreak’ series," 23 Oct. 2019 These included the members of the Crawley family, a genial, aristocratic clan cursed with three daughters, and their servants. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Downton, Downton, Revolution," 16 Sep. 2019 The man cursed at police and threatened to kill one officer’s family. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "Cleveland man punches woman, wrestles with police outside Speedway in Berea," 27 Nov. 2019 Sometimes, villagers did indeed curse their neighbors during a feud, but usually people sought reconciliations. National Geographic, "A royal obsession with black magic started Europe's most brutal witch hunts," 16 Oct. 2019 The man cursed at Pettus, and when Pettus asked for his identification, the man — who was recording video of their interaction on his phone — asked why Pettus was stopping him, the charging document says. Jeff Parrott, Anchorage Daily News, "APD officer charged with assault after allegedly punching and kicking man with bicycle violation," 12 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about curse

Time Traveler for curse

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for curse

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Curse.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for curse


How to pronounce curse (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on curse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curse

Spanish Central: Translation of curse

Nglish: Translation of curse for Spanish Speakers

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

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).


to help to grow, develop, or succeed

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!