\ 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

Born into a magical, matriarchal family in a small town, two sisters played by Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman band together to break an ancient family curse — and get rid of an abusive boyfriend along the way. Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "What Halloween Movie to Watch According to Your Zodiac Sign," 20 Oct. 2018 Image After helping the city of Cleveland banish a championship curse that spanned 52 years, LeBron James has found his next challenge: Rescuing the Los Angeles Lakers from the most unsuccessful period in the storied franchise’s history. Marc Stein, New York Times, "LeBron James Joining Lakers on 4-Year $154 Million Deal," 1 July 2018 And the price of that fortune is the Blossom curse? Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "The Best "Riverdale" Season 3 Fan Theories, According to Reddit," 1 Oct. 2018 Asian, raisin, black, crack—none of them are curses. Chicago Tribune,, "Algren Award finalist: "The Sweeper of Hair" by Karin Lin-Greenberg," 2 June 2018 In fact, nowhere is the curse of modern-day overload more evident than in travel. Condé Nast Traveler, "We Go There: Welcome to the New Condé Nast Traveler," 7 Mar. 2018 The Alzheimer’s curse Perhaps no field in the life sciences has been as heartbreaking, from a drug development standpoint, as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "The Diseases We Aren't Curing—And Why," 6 Feb. 2018 Not all of us consider a child who is disabled to be a curse. Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Redbook, "Michelle Duggar Miscarries #20: What Not To Say to a Woman Who's Had a Miscarriage," 9 Dec. 2011 Muller believes an Indian curse has caused his family to contract measles. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 5," 3 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The network launched an internal investigation, during which the Times claims that CBS' chief compliance officer Mark Engstrom submitted footage of Dushku cursing on set, purportedly to undermine her complaints. Julyssa Lopez, Glamour, "CBS Confirms It Paid Actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million to Settle Harassment Claims," 15 Dec. 2018 The operators of a temple in the northwestern state of Rajasthan believe the Hindu god Kartikeya curses women who enter the temple, instead of blessing them. Ashok Sharma, The Seattle Times, "Indian temple set to allow entry to females who menstruate," 17 Oct. 2018 One man just tried to stab a Republican candidate as the fiend allegedly cursed Trump. Greg Gutfeld, Fox News, "Gutfeld on rhetoric causing violence," 13 Sep. 2018 My sincerest apologies for the agony and mumble-cursing that undoubtedly ensued. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Amazon’s New Part Finder Tool Takes Care Of The Most Annoying Part Of Any DIY Project," 27 July 2018 The driver grabbed her arm to keep her from jumping out of the car and the detective struck him on his back or arm and cursed at him, according to the letter. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "King County detective suspended after attacking Uber driver while off duty," 10 Aug. 2018 Stephen!’ When Miller turned around, the bartender raised both middle fingers and cursed at him, according to an account Miller has shared with White House colleagues. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Kavanaugh’s paper trail makes his confirmation harder but ensures he’ll be reliably conservative," 10 July 2018 When cursing, our whole body and all emotions are connected — no guidelines, no filter. NBC News, "When cursing is good for your health," 4 Feb. 2018 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

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

12 Jan 2019

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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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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