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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web And once Molly became curious about Peggy, the two animals started to form a friendship, which included rolling around on the ground together, Peggy giving Molly piggyback rides, and sharing nap sessions. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2022 But researchers at the Taipei Veterans General Hospital got curious and wondered how AirPods using the Live Listen feature would stack up against medical hearing aids. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Nov. 2022 The kids, meanwhile, have grown curious about ordinary human life. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 15 Nov. 2022 With the rise of photography, though, the public saw more of them and got more curious about the first families’ private lives. Roxanne Roberts, Washington Post, 15 Nov. 2022 An Ancestry membership is the perfect gift for anyone who's curious to learn more about their family tree. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, 11 Nov. 2022 Leaders must be confident enough to be curious to accelerate transformation in uncertain markets. Kristen Groh, Quartz, 10 Nov. 2022 Later, the motorist noticed what appeared to be the sports car parked at a distance, as if the driver was curious what happened to the girl. John H. Tucker, Popular Mechanics, 10 Nov. 2022 Women are expected to be naturally curious and get less credit for it as a result. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'curious.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near curious

Cite this Entry

“Curious.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/curious. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on curious

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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