curious

adjective

cu·​ri·​ous ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs How to pronounce curious (audio)
ˈkyər-
1
a
: marked by desire to investigate and learn
They were curious as to who won the game.
The cat was curious about its new environment.
b
: marked by inquisitive interest in others' concerns : nosy
curious about the neighbors' doings
2
: exciting attention as strange, novel, or unexpected : odd
a curious coincidence
We were concerned about his curious behavior.
3
a
archaic : made carefully
b
archaic : precisely accurate
c
obsolete : abstruse
curiousness noun

Did you know?

Since the 1300s, "curious" has been variously used to describe things that in some way require, invite, or are characterized by carefulness or inquisitiveness. In so doing, it carries on the legacy of its Latin source, the adjective curiosus, meaning "careful" or "inquisitive." The comparative of "curious" is "more curious," though it is not unusual to encounter the phrase "curiouser and curiouser," made popular by the title character of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland who, Lewis Carroll tells us, "was so much surprised that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English."

Choose the Right Synonym for curious

curious, inquisitive, prying mean interested in what is not one's personal or proper concern.

curious, a neutral term, basically connotes an active desire to learn or to know.

children are curious about everything

inquisitive suggests impertinent and habitual curiosity and persistent quizzing.

dreaded the visits of their inquisitive relatives

prying implies busy meddling and officiousness.

prying neighbors who refuse to mind their own business

Examples of curious in a Sentence

The cat was naturally curious about its new surroundings. They were curious to find out who won the game. We're curious about why you never called us. I'm curious to know more about her. She found a curious old clock in the attic. The birds were engaged in some curious behavior. Their music is a curious blend of disco and rock. By a curious coincidence, they bought a house the same day their old one burned down.
Recent Examples on the Web And are there voters still out there still curious to learn surprising new insights about two people who have been on the public stage for four decades? Shelby Grad, Los Angeles Times, 18 June 2024 What has worked coming in from the pandemic is really focusing on a younger audience and an audience that is curious about cinema that’s global. Patrick Frater, Variety, 18 June 2024 That the case itself ever came to be is curious, but its verdict set a legal foundation that the Swiss judgment cited in declaring that Mr. A is not the watch’s rightful owner. Jay Fielden, The New Yorker, 17 June 2024 Customers turned away in disappointment as the stores were closed, while curious onlookers expressed a mix of shock, relief and praise. Ashley Southall, New York Times, 13 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for curious 

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, from Anglo-French curios, from Latin curiosus careful, inquisitive, from cura cure

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Time Traveler
The first known use of curious was in the 14th century

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near curious

Cite this Entry

“Curious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curious. Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

curious

adjective
cu·​ri·​ous ˈkyu̇r-ē-əs How to pronounce curious (audio)
1
: eager to learn
a cat curious about its new surroundings
2
3
: attracting attention by being strange or unusual : odd
a curious old coin
that's curious—they were here yesterday
curiously adverb
curiousness noun
Etymology

Middle English curious "made carefully, skillful, eager to learn," from early French curios (same meaning), from Latin curiosus "careful, inquisitive," from cura "care, healing" — related to accurate, cure

More from Merriam-Webster on curious

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!