\ 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

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

The opening of Wizarding World at Universal Studios Hollywood worked as a killing curse for the mom-and-pop shop. Kristen De Groot,, "Warner Bros. crackdown puts Dark Mark over Harry Potter festivals — including in Illinois," 18 June 2018 Belief in the resource curse may partly rest on a statistical illusion. The Economist, "Wakandanomics," 28 Mar. 2018 Reports have it that after a $33 million renovation of the Lyric Theatre especially for this show, there seems to be a curse on the center aisle: people (notably notable critics — uh, oh) keep tripping and falling over small unexpected steps. Toby Zinman,, "Broadway Beat: What Philadelphians need to know about the Great White Way," 11 June 2018 Durant went on to lose in the 2012 NBA Finals and the 2014 and 2016 Western Conference finals before joining Lil B's team and thereby having the curse removed. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Lil B to Rockets' Chris Paul: Leave Draymond alone," 24 May 2018 For emerging markets to break the curse, the U.S. economy will have to be strong, but not so strong that rates keep rising. Aaron Back, WSJ, "Survey Says ... Avoid Emerging Markets," 12 Feb. 2019 In Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Claudia Kim plays a character doomed with a blood curse. Lisa Mischianti, Marie Claire, "Get to Know The Crimes of Grindelwald Star Claudia Kim," 9 Nov. 2018 In the prequel to the Harry Potter series, Voldemort's snake/horcrux is actually revealed to be a maledictus, a human woman with a blood curse that eventually turns her into the serpent. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "J.K. Rowling Chimed in on "Fantastic Beasts" Casting Criticism Over Claudia Kim as Nagini," 27 Sep. 2018 The Spore drive, much like poor characterization, is one of the lingering curses from Season One. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "'Star Trek: Discovery' Gets Back to Basics," 25 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The man began walking toward the hotel, then came back and cursed at the officers. Brian Lisik/special To,, "Driver wanted for reckless operation after nearly hitting police car: Independence Police Blotter," 30 Apr. 2018 A few minutes into the meeting, Stevante Clark, Mr. Clark’s brother, stormed into the council chamber and cursed repeatedly at Mr. Steinberg. Jose A. Del Real, New York Times, "Hundreds at Sacramento City Hall Protest Police Killing of Stephon Clark," 27 Mar. 2018 Sketchy lines, potent phrases, and a rich sense of playful irreverence define his line drawings, whose subjects range from solar eclipses and Greek warriors to dogs leaping and cursing owls. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "“I Think Fashion and Art Meet Together like a Finely Knit Sweater”—Raymond Pettibon Discusses His Dior Men Collaboration," 11 Feb. 2019 Sam's family bought the camp at a great price, because it was rumored to be cursed. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Twitter-inspired You Might Be the Killer is coming to Syfy this weekend," 4 Oct. 2018 The group included children, and one of the tourists, Frederick Northrop Jr., confronted Malone, telling him not to curse in front of them, according to police. Fleming Smith, ajc, "‘Walking Dead’ tourists confronted by local who says they scare cafe customers," 12 June 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

20 Apr 2019

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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 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

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

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