\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jessica’s sister — who is hospitalized with an unspecified illness early in the film — wakes up in her bed talking of a curse. Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2022 In the colonized world, beauty can become a kind of curse. New York Times, 14 Mar. 2022 But as far as her mom is concerned, Mei needs to follow a ritual on the next red moon to permanently rid herself of the curse. Peter Debruge, Variety, 7 Mar. 2022 No mere mortal can defeat the indestructible force of the Plaschke curse. Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2021 As Jared, Christopher Louie Szabo is sensitive and earnest and his physical embodiment of the curse is both eerie and disturbing. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Nov. 2021 This belief, a sort of curse of the mummy avant la lettre, did not encourage the average linguist to have a go at the Rosetta Stone. The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2021 Whatever is eating Kendall from the inside out, one feels, is also part of that curse. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, 15 Oct. 2021 Part three premieres July 16th and goes all the way back to 1666, where the root of the curse will likely be revealed. Emily Zemler, Rolling Stone, 5 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Get out and enjoy the spring blossoms, and try not to curse the pollen too much. Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2022 By now Wang has gotten used to the onslaught of voice and text messages, comments and spontaneous calls to curse him and threaten his life. Stephanie Yang, Los Angeles Times, 14 Mar. 2022 Most importantly, does this production have Streisand's blessing — or curse? Lester Fabian Brathwaite,, 5 May 2022 Depending on his changing mood, Taba will — or will not — curse around his partner. Washington Post, 28 Apr. 2022 Sometimes people – curse them all – fail to renew their tags on the prescribed date. John Archibald |, al, 7 Apr. 2022 Pat makes a deal that may curse her forever, and Terry’s struggle with depression has fatal consequences. Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2022 The teachers curse throughout the video and one uses a racial slur at least twice. Krista Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 25 Mar. 2022 Host Craig Melvin reminded recipients and presenters that the awards are not televised so as to feel emboldened to curse and drink. Ian Malone, Vogue, 17 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near curse

curry powder



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Statistics for curse

Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Curse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for curse


\ 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on curse

Nglish: Translation of curse for Spanish Speakers

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


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