\ 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 Theo Epstein, breaker of two historic curses, will be in the Hall of Fame., "The Red Sox need a starter with," 23 Nov. 2019 But when the priceless treaty goes missing, peace is jeopardized and an ancient curse looms. Dan Snierson,, "Everything you need to know about all 105 new Christmas TV movies," 22 Nov. 2019 Shahid remembers visiting her there, among the wails and curses of the patients. Ellen Barry, New York Times, "The Jungle Prince of Delhi," 22 Nov. 2019 Juliet lives multiple different lives since her first one in France, all of which have been watched over by Luke, who's actually a demon in charge of maintaining this botched curse. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Ars To-Be-Read: Five books we’re most excited to read in 2020," 15 Nov. 2019 However, Guttman's curse has hampered them in the years that followed., "The 8 Teams That Have Won More Than 200 European Matches," 24 Oct. 2019 Would your ignorance in that situation count as a blessing, a curse or both? Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Twin brothers Alex and Marcus Lewis tell their hauntingly strange story in ‘Tell Me Who I Am’," 17 Oct. 2019 So what exactly is this Detroit Lions curse all about? Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Detroit Lions aren't cursed. It's just their inescapable luck," 16 Oct. 2019 Did the Madden curse strike Antonio Brown a year after the former Pittsburgh Steeler and current Oakland Raider was on the cover of the EA Sports NFL series? Charles Curtis, For The Win, "'Madden' curse strikes again? Fans noticed a bizarre coincidence involving Antonio Brown," 12 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Residents jeered at riot police walking alongside the vehicles, cursing them and telling them to leave. NBC News, "Hong Kong protesters set up roadblocks, clash with police as unrest continues," 20 Oct. 2019 On the dirt streets, boys bullied him, and men shouted threats, beat his mother and cursed her for being Honduran. Los Angeles Times, "Identical twins. Identical asylum claims. Very different luck at the border," 18 Oct. 2019 Research on swearing dates back to Victorian times, when physicians discovered that patients who lost their ability to speak could still curse. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Get more out of your workout by dropping an F-bomb," 30 Oct. 2019 Cars roared up and down Trinity's streets, packed with white men yelling and cursing out open windows. Tom Verducci,, "The Hard, Historic Roads That Lead to Baseball's Magic Number: .400," 8 Aug. 2019 This is the first time the Courier Journal mentioned a speaker cursing. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Quips, quotes and one-liners: The 50 greatest zingers from 50 years of Fancy Farm," 30 July 2019 Twice, Matthew called the police on Jessica, for yelling or cursing or poking his chest. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "What if Your Abusive Husband Is a Cop?," 25 May 2018 According to the report, Seegars was yelling and cursing and refusing to follow instructions. John Marks, charlotteobserver, "Fort Mill cops found him looking for work; York County wanted him on attempted murder | Charlotte Observer," 9 Jan. 2018 Across much of the Great Plains, this growing season seemed cursed even before the irrigation crisis. Mitch Smith, New York Times, "America’s Farmers, Reeling From Floods, Face a New Problem: No Water," 29 July 2019

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

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Curse.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for curse


How to pronounce curse (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on curse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for curse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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