\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But such offerings can be a blessing and a curse for investigators. Los Angeles Times, "LAPD probes whether violent heist of Lady Gaga’s dogs was targeted attack," 26 Feb. 2021 Using curse words and those blaspheming God resulted in bar soap applied to the mouth or revisiting that belt. Mike Masterson, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | MASTERSON ONLINE: Yesteryear versus today," 5 Dec. 2020 Although Polish speakers can pride themselves on expert and creative use of profanity, putting curse words on political banners is a novelty, jarring for some. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Abortion Protests in Poland Are Starting to Feel Like a Revolution," 17 Nov. 2020 One is about the curse of wandering, the loss of Paradise when expelled from one’s birthplace. Ariel Dorfman, The New York Review of Books, "Songs of Loss and Reinvention," 17 Nov. 2020 As Mamaw, the family’s indomitable matriarch, Close gets to sniffle, weep, curse, flip the bird and spout tough-love bromides. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Amy Adams and Glenn Close act up a storm in Netflix’s woefully misguided ‘Hillbilly Elegy’," 11 Nov. 2020 That is the curse of being a viral phenomenon and just about the only good thing in a year mired in isolation, racial unrest and political conflict. Geoff Edgers, Washington Post, "Sarah Cooper became famous mocking Trump.," 15 Oct. 2020 Instead, Dreyer offers a meticulously rational story (loosely based on tales by Sheridan Le Fanu) of a vampire curse that spreads on contact from person to person like a plague. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Best Horror Movies for Halloween—Without the Gore," 28 Oct. 2020 Though so far, being special on Osea is more of a curse than a blessing. Shannon Carlin,, "The Secret Place In The Third Day Isn’t Actually All That Secret," 14 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Regulars can thank — or curse — the pandemic for that, said Jeff Barnard of the Bar X Group, which purchased the business last year from Holladay City. Kathy Stephenson, The Salt Lake Tribune, "This famed bar transforms into a restaurant — and the garlic burgers are back," 4 Dec. 2020 In mid-May, police visited his mother at her rural home to discuss his activities, prompting him to curse the officers in his next video. Los Angeles Times, "A Thai dissident was kidnapped. When police had no answers, his sister began to investigate," 29 Dec. 2020 His team was close — curse-the-basketball-gods close, blame-the-refs close. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "The Rockets and Warriors are in new territory, and it’s not good," 21 Dec. 2020 Jim Caldwell has a chance to make history, and break a long-standing Detroit Lions curse. Marlowe Alter, Detroit Free Press, "Jim Caldwell interviews with Houston Texans, tries to break Detroit Lions head coach curse," 21 Dec. 2020 The sirens will go off, and people will curse the prematurely maskless. Star Tribune, "Lileks: Who knew masks prevented sirens," 11 Dec. 2020 The handles on both the skillet and the pot stay relatively cool, which won’t lead you to curse the set and toss it after one bad burn. Kate Bratskeir, CNN Underscored, "The Proclamation Duo does it all in the kitchen with just two pans," 29 Oct. 2020 In videos of the scene posted to Twitter, a group of people appear throw eggs, curse and give the middle finger to cars passing by with Trump banners and American flags. Teo Armus, Washington Post, "Seven arrested after fights erupt between pro-Trump caravan and protesters in Manhattan," 26 Oct. 2020 During lessons, Wilson often pulled too violently on the control column, causing the machine to yaw and his instructor to curse him. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "A Pilot’s Son Takes Flight," 17 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for curse

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for curse

Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Curse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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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 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.

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