\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

From our point of view creatively, that’s both a blessing and a curse. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Taking a page from YouTube, Snap VP Nick Bell wants to find the next generation of media stars," 25 Oct. 2018 After casting a couple of flashy curses, Hairy appears on stage to take down the Dark Lord. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Drag Performer Florida Man Slays Ariana Grande's "Dangerous Woman" as Lady Voldemort from "Harry Potter"," 8 Oct. 2018 The randomness of the path is a blessing and a curse: the photon carries some of the path information with it, but interpreting the information is very difficult, and this prevents an image from being reconstructed. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Metamaterial-equipped endoscope reveals your innermost secrets," 4 Aug. 2018 The city’s wharves whisper of tea parties, its libraries of literary greats, and its ballpark of curses broken. Elizabeth Wellington, Condé Nast Traveler, "16 Best Things to Do in Boston," 2 Aug. 2018 The last horse to win under those circumstances was Apollo — hence the name of the curse — 136 years ago., "Justify Wins the Belmont Stakes, and Races Into History as the New Triple Crown Winner," 9 June 2018 The Fantastic Four, by contrast, were family members who bickered and considered their powers more curse than blessing. Ben Fritz, WSJ, "Comics Legend Stan Lee Dies," 12 Nov. 2018 Apparently, the curse is passed down from mother to daughter and is only found in witches. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "New 'Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald' Trailer Confirms Voldemort’s Snake Nagini Was a Actually a WITCH," 25 Sep. 2018 With his head shaved for the part, Hedges gave a ferocious, sensitive performance that earned him rave reviews—and the trial by fire seems to have lifted the curse. Adam Green, Vogue, "With a Bushel of New Film Roles—and a Broadway Debut—Lucas Hedges Is Learning to Love the Spotlight," 24 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Based on the upcoming novel also written by Miller and Wheeler, the show follows Nemue, who is cursed to be the Lady of the Lake from the legend of King Arthur. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Katherine Langford Is Starring in a New Netflix Show and It’s Nothing Like “13 Reasons Why”," 13 Sep. 2018 Even today, folklore remains among many Mormons to explain the ban, from Blacks being cursed with the blood of Cain being less valiant in the premortal life. Mica Mcgriggs, Teen Vogue, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Celebrated the 40-Year Anniversary of the Lifted Ban Against Black Members," 11 July 2018 On Tuesday, the Washington Post published a report about Miller throwing away an $80 sushi takeout order recently after he was cursed out by one of the restaurant staffers. Merdie Nzanga, USA TODAY, "California congressman Ted Lieu gets some appreciation — and free dessert," 10 July 2018 Officers detained the group, the affidavit said, but Jacob Saucedo walked off the wall and began cursing at the officer. Ryan Tarinelli, The Seattle Times, "Mom says Texas officer choked boy before aiming gun at kids," 9 July 2018 When Krasner walked out, very notably before Wilson’s family spoke, someone shouted a cursed at him. Mike Newall,, "Krasner didn't have to let down the dead officer's family | Mike Newall," 25 June 2018 The couple claimed the print was cursed and had caused electrical items around it to short out and a window next to it to mysteriously break. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, "San Antonio’s paranormal power couple live with the haunted and cursed," 22 May 2018 Although this year's Japan Day was cursed with rain for most of the day, bad weather didn't stop New Yorkers from enjoying a wide range of Japanese traditional activities, culture, foods and art in Central Park. Billboard Japan, Billboard, "J-Pop Duo PUFFY Charms New York at Central Park Japan Day Concert," 17 May 2018 When William Friedkin directed The Exorcist in 1973, rumors circulated that the film set itself was cursed. Emily Gaudette, Newsweek, "WATCH: 'Exorcist' Director Films Actual Demonic Exorcism in Documentary Trailer," 21 Mar. 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

30 Nov 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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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

Comments on curse

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living or existing for a long time

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