\ 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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Each day, an algorithm counts how many times each word is used, discarding any words that scored between four and six — a slice that includes neutral words and words that people use in different contexts, such as slang and curse words. Washington Post, "Just how bad was this year? These professors found answers on Twitter.," 31 Dec. 2020 Limited public transport networks, usually a curse in the region, also mean that Africans do not travel as much between countries and cities, minimizing close contact and the risk of exposure. Aryn Baker, Time, "Why Africa's COVID-19 Outbreak Hasn't Been as Bad as Everyone Feared," 30 Dec. 2020 Gray is beautiful and a powerful symbol that, amid so much death, aging isn’t a curse but a privilege. New York Times, "8 Things We Hated About New York Until 2020 Happened," 25 Dec. 2020 The plentiful examples—letters that threatened a curse, tried to scam, and preyed on people’s fears, superstitions, beliefs, desires, morality and sense of self—made this article an entertaining way to ponder our puzzling human nature. Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, "Twenty-Five of Our Favorite Stories From 2020," 21 Dec. 2020 There may not be a bigger curse in modern professional sports than being Lions-adjacent. Star Tribune, "Sunday's Vikings-Bears game between 6-7 teams is more nothing than something," 19 Dec. 2020 In the United States, Blackness is too often seen as a threat and treated like a curse. Ineye Komonibo,, "Between The World And Me Might Be Triggering At Times, But Director Kamilah Forbes Hopes It Inspires You, Too," 26 Nov. 2020 SoftBank's investment record could be both a blessing and a curse. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "$900 billion in stimulus is coming. More is needed but isn't guaranteed," 22 Dec. 2020 The addition of two more literal millennials underscores both the blessing and the curse of the project Popovich has undertaken at age 71. Jeff Mcdonald,, "Spurs’ 2020 vision? Go younger, faster and (hopefully) to the playoffs," 19 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 After 13 years together, Klaus finally knows once and for all Ben wanted to be with him — they weren’t cosmically trapped together and Klaus didn’t selfishly curse Ben to a life on earth by bringing him back in 2006. Ariana Romero,, "Ben Is The Umbrella Academy Finale’s Biggest Mystery. Here Are Some Answers," 31 July 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.

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

Time Traveler for curse

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for curse

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Curse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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