\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But, in this case, is s— really a curse or just an adjective (deployed even from the White House to describe countries without Trump name-brand hotels)? Leah Garchik,, "The case against pussy-footing to avoid theatrical outrageousness," 11 June 2019 Some coaches are yellers, with foul-mouthed curses serving as ear-rattling exclamations to drive home every point. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: How the Fangio Stare, soon to be famous in Broncos Country, is redefining Denver’s defense," 8 June 2019 Members of Larry Moore’s family, including his mother, Debra Moore, erupted in shouts and curses directed at the defendant when Goebel issued his ruling. George Houde,, "After initially finding man guilty of murder, Cook judge changes conviction to lesser crime of manslaughter; victim's mom 'shocked'," 5 June 2019 Only three years removed from their curse-breaking World Series triumph, the team possesses a championship pedigree. Andy Mccullough,, "Cubs add closer Craig Kimbrel and Dodgers get company in N.L. pennant race," 5 June 2019 What Holzhauer is referring to is his big loss on the game show and the infamous Drake curse that says that whatever team the rapper roots for typically loses. Kirsten Spruch, Billboard, "James Holzhauer Blames His 'Jeopardy!' Fate on Drake," 3 June 2019 What this means to you: Intel, as the old curse goes, is living in interesting times. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel CEO Swan says chip shortages will never happen again on his watch," 25 Apr. 2019 Will Smith: Will Smith launched a highly successful—and famously curse-free—rap career with Jeff Townes under the moniker DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince when Smith was still a teenager. Vogue, "Lady Gaga Isn’t the Only Singer to Make the Leap to the Big Screen: 15 Other Actors Who Were Musicians First," 10 Sep. 2018 That whatever curse or hex or inability to advance in the postseason is over. The Si Staff,, "Stanley Cup Final Roundtable: Expansion Team in the Final, Unlikely Goal Scorer, More," 26 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Women wept openly in the courtroom and a young man cursed Hicks. NBC News, "Man sentenced to three life terms without parole for killing three Muslims," 13 June 2019 Bob smoked like the proverbial chimney, cursed like the equally proverbial Marine. Chuck Yarborough,, "‘Men in Black: International’: Fourth time is hardly charmed as formula plot fails as a galactic bust," 12 June 2019 White-haired ladies can be heard cursing the vans, as do shop and café owners lugging sacks of coins. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Scotland is on the front line in the fight against “cash deserts”," 31 May 2019 Marco Rubio had a message for the media, too: Stop cursing so much. Brian J. White,, "Marco Rubio’s message to the media on day after shooting: Stop cursing so much," 29 June 2018 Still, Daenerys goes on to name one of her dragon children after Viserys, possibly cursing Viserion to turn on her after being resurrected by the Night King. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "This New 'Game of Thrones' Theory Reveals Secret Foreshadowing Within the Dragons' Names," 16 May 2019 Yvonne Carlock, a Marines spokeswoman, said the agency found no records of any person enlisted by the name Alex Wolpert, who has since been identified as the man yelling and cursing in a viral video of the incident. Nashelly Chavez, sacbee, "He yelled 'Vietnamese communist' at elderly man. Now Marines say he lied about serving | The Sacramento Bee," 23 May 2018 But, thankfully, no angry Scotsman comes running to curse me. Samantha Melamed,, "I tried Philly's weird new golf-simulator bar, Golf & Social," 23 May 2018 French striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for cursing at his coach: the players boycotted a day of training, a top official resigned in disgust, and France failed to win a game. Sean Gregory, Time, "32 Teams Entered, 2 Remain. Your Ultimate Guide to the World Cup Final," 13 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about curse

Statistics for curse

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for curse

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 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.

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up curse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!