1 of 2


: a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one : imprecation
People believe that there is a curse on the house.
: a profane or obscene oath or word
In an antechamber, his lieutenants suddenly heard the shattering of glass and angry curses.Sam Moses
: 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)
: evil or misfortune that comes as if in response to imprecation or as retribution
… intolerance is the greatest curse of every land …Kenneth Roberts
: a cause of great harm or misfortune : torment
His fame turned out to be a curse, not a blessing.
: menstruation
used with the


2 of 2


cursed; cursing

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to utter imprecations : swear
cursing loudly

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
There was even a curse crossover when Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner, a former Cub, bungled a routine ground ball during the 1986 World Series while wearing a Cubs batting glove under his leather glove. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2023 Kwon took the stage for about seven minutes to read a preview, which started with an old tale of a double-suicide that might have caused a family curse and ended with an encounter between Jin and Lidija. Vulture, 11 Nov. 2023 One of those obstacles is, as the title suggests, a curse. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 10 Nov. 2023 At times, the series implies that curses and magic are real, and at others seems convinced that everyone’s misery comes from their own choices and actions. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 6 Nov. 2023 Rosario, now the target of a deadly family curse, must battle her past to save herself and her soul. Anna Marie De La Fuente, Variety, 31 Oct. 2023 But Stevie, as delicate and melancholy as a Pierrot and twice as confident, does not hear her curses. Helen Shaw, The New Yorker, 9 Nov. 2023 Everyone has different opinions on curses, um, and black magic or dark magic. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, 26 Oct. 2023 Opal starts learning about a curse spawned by enslaved mine workers, and the creepy children’s book written by the woman who built the manor. Charlie Jane Anders, Washington Post, 25 Oct. 2023
Fielder and Stone’s dark comedy showcases the downfall of an HGTV-esque couple after being cursed, while Powell and Sweeney’s film, out Dec. 22, is a rom-com. Tomás Mier, Rolling Stone, 18 Nov. 2023 This arrogant project angered God and so, to teach humankind humility, the divine cursed us with different languages. Myriam Gurba, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2023 During a morning rush hour at Grand Central Terminal last month, one woman cursed at another for lingering on a staircase. Ana Ley, New York Times, 7 Nov. 2023 Antonio, a young man with a quiet life, becomes obsessed with the story of Bobby Bob, a pirate cursed by a witch 300 years ago. Anna Marie De La Fuente, Variety, 5 Oct. 2023 The cause of the intense annual air pollution that curses Delhi and most of northern India at the start of winter is difficult to determine. Hari Kumar, New York Times, 3 Nov. 2023 Long recognized as one of college basketball’s greatest coaches, Knight was forever remembered for cursing, gesturing wildly, berating officials and finally throwing his chair onto the court as the opposing team was about to shoot free throws. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 2 Nov. 2023 At the start of the series, Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) rejects the advances of Parker’s Angelique and the witch curses Barnabas, turning him into a vampire. Charna Flam, Peoplemag, 17 Oct. 2023 Because that would really make this an Exorcist movie — another proudly troublesome and uneven entry in a series that seems to be as cursed as its characters. Vulture, 6 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'curse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


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


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near curse

Cite this Entry

“Curse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a calling for harm or injury to come to someone
: a word or an expression used in cursing or swearing
: evil or misfortune that comes as if in answer to a curse
: a cause of great harm or evil


2 of 2 verb
cursed; cursing
: to call upon divine power to send harm or evil upon
: to bring unhappiness or evil upon : afflict

More from Merriam-Webster on curse

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