\ 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

anathema, ban, execration, imprecation, malediction, malison, winze [Scottish]

Synonyms: Verb

anathematize, beshrew [archaic], imprecate, maledict

Antonyms: Noun

benediction, benison, blessing

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

The Spore drive, much like poor characterization, is one of the lingering curses from Season One. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Gets Back to Basics," 25 Jan. 2019 The underlying technology of email hasn’t changed in decades, which is both a blessing and a curse. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "The Hot New Channel for Reaching Real People: Email," 19 Jan. 2019 Moments like this, which touch on the way that Castle Rock is decaying as an isolated relic of American history, are more unsettling than those that suggest that a supernatural curse is what’s really affecting the people who live there. Karen Han, Vox, "Hulu’s Castle Rock gets what makes Stephen King so scary," 20 July 2018 Marriott's curse at the president was among other incidents this month in which members of the Trump administration were met with hostility by people opposed to Trump's policies. William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Sen. Maggie Hassan suspends intern for yelling vulgarity at President Trump," 26 June 2018 The curse of April snowstorms and record lows might have actually been a blessing for the Kansas City region. Robert A. Cronkleton, kansascity, "Winter's hesitancy to leave keeps tornadoes at bay; but peak twister season is coming | The Kansas City Star," 25 Apr. 2018 As many of his characters come to realize in these wise and moving stories, the blessing and the curse of a vast landscape is to have yourself for company. Justin Taylor, New York Times, "Stories Filled With Strivers, Schemers and Adventurers," 10 Apr. 2018 Born into a magical, matriarchal family in a small town, two sisters played by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman band together to break an ancient family curse — and get rid of an abusive boyfriend along the way. Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "What Halloween Movie to Watch According to Your Zodiac Sign," 20 Oct. 2018 Image After helping the city of Cleveland banish a championship curse that spanned 52 years, LeBron James has found his next challenge: Rescuing the Los Angeles Lakers from the most unsuccessful period in the storied franchise’s history. Marc Stein, New York Times, "LeBron James Joining Lakers on 4-Year $154 Million Deal," 1 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Sam's family bought the camp at a great price, because it was rumored to be cursed. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Twitter-inspired You Might Be the Killer is coming to Syfy this weekend," 4 Oct. 2018 The group included children, and one of the tourists, Frederick Northrop Jr., confronted Malone, telling him not to curse in front of them, according to police. Fleming Smith, ajc, "‘Walking Dead’ tourists confronted by local who says they scare cafe customers," 12 June 2018 There were really political opinions, and normal ones, and hot ones, and people cursed in these different ... Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: Ezra Klein and Kara Swisher on the future of journalism," 12 Dec. 2018 School records showed several students and at least one parent said Walker drove too fast, slammed on the brakes and cursed in front of the children. Chelsea Prince, ajc, "Driver in deadly Chattanooga school bus crash arrested on child rape charge," 15 June 2018 Today, education is blessed with bipartisan agreement on what works, and cursed with bipartisan complacency at every level on taking action. Arne Duncan And Margaret Spellings, Washington Post, "What ails education? ‘An absence of vision, a failure of will and politics’," 9 May 2018 Peter Boyle plays Clyde Bruckman, an insurance salesman cursed with the psychic ability to see how people will die. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "We Want You to Believe: 15 Episodes to Get Started With 'The X-Files'," 12 June 2015 The network launched an internal investigation, during which the Times claims that CBS' chief compliance officer Mark Engstrom submitted footage of Dushku cursing on set, purportedly to undermine her complaints. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "CBS Confirms It Paid Actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million to Settle Harassment Claims," 15 Dec. 2018 The operators of a temple in the northwestern state of Rajasthan believe the Hindu god Kartikeya curses women who enter the temple, instead of blessing them. Ashok Sharma, The Seattle Times, "Indian temple set to allow entry to females who menstruate," 17 Oct. 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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Statistics for curse

Last Updated

23 Feb 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on curse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with curse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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