\ 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 The places that have successfully escaped the resource curse share a few characteristics. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "The American West’s economy has a lot in common with Saudi Arabia," 1 Aug. 2020 Those facts illustrate why Sen. Brown says it’s both a blessing and a curse to be a Black politician. Matt Bittle, Washington Post, "Senator follows in footsteps of Black Delaware trailblazers," 11 July 2020 Nyles is happy to have someone to share his curse with, but Sarah, being new to the experience, is more motivated to find a way out. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Palm Springs Is the Comedy of the Summer," 10 July 2020 On a planetary scale, dust is a blessing and a curse. National Geographic, "Will the plume from the Saraha help or hurt us?," 1 July 2020 One is to bang a drum which reminds the world that AIDS is still a curse on humanity—hence the particular welcome offered to journalists. The Economist, "The 23rd International AIDS Conference This year’s AIDS conference has brought snippets of good news," 8 July 2020 The curse of dimensionality is why our estimates of how a disease will behave will always have imprecision. Ben Klemens, Scientific American, "The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of Social Science Modeling," 7 July 2020 The new season will see Wynonna taking on her most diabolical enemy yet, with the Earp family curse finally broken but also without her trusty gun Peacemaker. Tyler Aquilina,, "Wynonna Earp season 4 finally has a premiere date — and a trailer," 26 June 2020 And as chef, tackling this task proved to be a gift and a curse. Dalila Thomas, Dallas News, "Dallas private chef, inspired by his young son, loses more than 100 pounds," 17 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When Cortez and the nurses make their daily visits to those in quarantine, some people curse them or refuse to cooperate. National Geographic, "How a single doctor fights to keep COVID-19 from reaching his rural town," 9 July 2020 An elderly man told the crowd not to yell and curse at him, and people hugged, and then finally Steffon Riggins, who'd been there protesting since the fights with police, just bought the guy's flag for $60. Samantha Guff, CNN, "They envisioned a world without police. Inside Seattle's CHOP zone, protesters struggled to make it real," 5 July 2020 As preparation for the town hall–style event got under way, officials raised concerns that attendees would curse at Lam or even toss water bottles or their shoes at her, a person familiar with the planning told me. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, "A Stubborn Leader, a Broken System," 18 June 2020 This year, the onslaught of new Netflix original series, movies, and specials over MDW is a gift rather than curse. Ariana Romero,, "You Have 12 New Netflix Treats To Binge Over The Bank Holiday Weekend," 22 May 2020 During cold nights the young officer listened to his men curse Hitler for abandoning them. Robert Clark, National Geographic, "‘I have had, in my life, whole squadrons of guardian angels looking after me. There’s no other way.’," 6 May 2020 Death could be comical, like being eaten by a cowplant (which is literally a cow-plant-hybrid that lures unsuspecting Sims into its chomps) or cursed by a mummy. Washington Post, "How The Sims navigated 20 years of change to become one of the most successful franchises ever," 4 Feb. 2020 Boston has been cursed with some of the nation’s worst traffic., "Anatomy of a traffic jam - The Boston Globe," 20 Nov. 2019 Anyone who harms more than nine is said to be cursed. Christina Larson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lions kill cattle, so people kill lions. Can the cycle end?," 7 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.

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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

5 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Curse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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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.

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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

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