Share this entry

curious Line breaks: curi|ous
Pronunciation: /ˈkjʊərɪəs/

Definition of curious in English:

adjective

1Eager to know or learn something: I began to be curious about the whereabouts of the bride and groom she was curious to know what had happened
More example sentences
  • I would be curious to know what presumption others think is the most reasonable.
  • Besides, I was curious to know how I'd react to a complete and prolonged break from both the Internet and from writing.
  • Having no expertise in either, I would be curious to know answers.
1.1Expressing curiosity: a curious stare
More example sentences
  • You stare, catching curious glances, searching for recognition, but they're calm as cows.
  • No doubt they had to answer many questions from very curious and interested pupils.
  • So 700 curious faces stared me down from head to toe as I walked up to the podium.
Synonyms
inquisitive, intrigued, interested, eager to know, dying to know, burning with curiosity, agog;
perplexed, puzzled, baffled, mystified
informal nosy, nosy-parker, snoopy
2Strange; unusual: a curious sensation overwhelmed her
More example sentences
  • The haircut is merely the latest stage in his curious and unusual battle to avoid overexposure.
  • Relative strangers offer up curious nuggets of information, like cinder toffee.
  • The best illustration of this strange reversal is the curious fate of the Downing Street memo.
Synonyms
strange, odd, peculiar, funny, unusual, bizarre, weird, eccentric, queer, unexpected, unfamiliar, abnormal, out of the ordinary, atypical, anomalous, untypical, different, out of the way, surprising, incongruous, extraordinary, remarkable, puzzling, mystifying, mysterious, perplexing, baffling, unaccountable, inexplicable, irregular, singular, offbeat, unconventional, unorthodox, outlandish, off-centre, aberrant, freak, freakish, deviant;
Frenchoutré;
Scottish unco
informal off the wall, wacky
British informal rum
North American informal wacko
2.1 euphemistic (Of books) erotic or pornographic.

Derivatives

curiousness

1
Pronunciation: /ˈkjʊərɪəsnəs/
noun
Example sentences
  • I won't go into the curiousness of this fact alone.
  • Then she was a mixture of curiousness and intrigue.
  • I raised an eyebrow in curiousness and he rolled his eyes.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French curios, from Latin curiosus 'careful', from cura 'care'. sense 2 dates from the early 18th century.

More
  • The word curious came into the language in the sense ‘eager to know or learn something’. Its source is Latin curiosus ‘careful’, from cura ‘care’. The word has had a variety of meanings over the centuries, including ‘skilfully made’, ‘very accurate or precise’, and ‘having an exquisite taste’. The sense ‘strange or unusual’ appeared early on in the 18th century. Among booksellers curious used to be a euphemistic term for erotic or pornographic works.

    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is the title of a best-selling 2003 novel by Mark Haddon but the words come originally from one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries. In the story Silver Blaze ( 1884), Holmes draws Watson's attention to ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night-time’. When Watson protests that ‘the dog did nothing in the night-time’, Holmes responds: ‘That was the curious incident.’ The point is that the dog did not raise the alarm because he already knew the person who had disturbed him. The saying curiosity killed the cat is first recorded around 1900. The older form is care killed the cat, which is first recorded in Ben Jonson's 1598 play Every Man in His Humour. Curiouser and curiouser is a quotation from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland ( 1865). ‘ “Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice (she was so much surprised that for a moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).’

Words that rhyme with curious

furious, injurious, luxurious, penurious, perjurious, spurious, sulphureous (US sulfureous), usurious

Definition of curious in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources