: sparing of words : terse
wrote curt precise sentences
: marked by rude or peremptory (see peremptory sense 3) shortness : brusque
a curt refusal
In a curt voice, he ordered the server to bring him a glass of water.
: shortened in linear dimension
curtly adverb
curtness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for curt

bluff, blunt, brusque, curt, crusty, gruff mean abrupt and unceremonious in speech and manner.

bluff connotes good-natured outspokenness and unconventionality.

a bluff manner

blunt suggests directness of expression in disregard of others' feelings.

a blunt appraisal

brusque applies to a sharpness or ungraciousness.

a brusque response

curt implies disconcerting shortness or rude conciseness.

a curt command

crusty suggests a harsh or surly manner sometimes concealing an inner kindliness.

a crusty exterior

gruff suggests a hoarse or husky speech which may imply bad temper but more often implies embarrassment or shyness.

puts on a gruff pose

Example Sentences

He gave only a curt reply to the question. she was offended by the curt reply to her well-meaning question
Recent Examples on the Web Casual emails and texts became curt, professional exchanges. Jaweed Kaleem, Los Angeles Times, 17 May 2023 At the time, the actor gave the model short, curt answers to her questions—forcing her to awkwardly end the talk—and rolled his eyes before leaving. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 17 Mar. 2023 The actor spoke with Ashley Graham on the ABC broadcast but provided surprisingly curt answers to most of her questions. Brendan Morrow, The Week, 13 Mar. 2023 Beverly concludes, her digraphs pointedly curt, left to flutter in the air. Vulture, 4 May 2023 While making quips about the indictment of former President Donald Trump, Jost drew only curt chuckles from the crowd, which dutifully roared at all of Che’s punchlines. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 2 Apr. 2023 Between gleaming multi-angle HD match footage, Gething speaks to the players themselves, whose years of media training and sports psychology have left them better placed than their curt predecessors to articulate the highs and lows of a World Cup campaign. Mike Mccahill, Variety, 10 Nov. 2022 Belichick's response was curt, to say the least. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, 28 Dec. 2021 The response from the American industrialist and founder of Ford Motor Company to the 1924 missive was curt: No thanks. Mary Hui, Quartz, 16 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'curt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin curtus mutilated, curtailed — more at shear

First Known Use

1630, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of curt was in 1630

Dictionary Entries Near curt

Cite this Entry

“Curt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curt. Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


: rudely abrupt or brief in speech
a curt reply
curtly adverb
curtness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on curt

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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