Definition of curse in English:

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Pronunciation: /kərs/


1A solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something: she’d put a curse on him
More example sentences
  • Pete claims they can put a curse on you similar to the curses or hexes described by voodoo, witchcraft, or a good mummy story.
  • You should ask only for protection from someone who has ill will toward you, and never put a curse on him; he's cursing himself with his own behavior.
  • Dominic explained that the story goes that, before her death, Lucy put a curse on all successive governors of the old gaol that they would die young.
malediction, hex, jinx
formal imprecation
literary anathema
(a curse) the evil eye
1.1 [usually in singular] A cause of harm or misery: impatience is the curse of our day and age
More example sentences
  • But for five years he went into a colossal sulk, blaming his problems on ‘the curse of being lower middle class’ and refusing to give interviews.
  • Even the Easter rising of 1916 was doomed before it commenced through lack of proper communication and the old curse of command and counter command.
  • The pill is the latest attempt by pharmaceutical companies to tackle a problem labelled the curse of the 21st century - social awkwardness.
evil, blight, scourge, plague, cancer, canker, poison
affliction, burden, cross to bear, bane
1.2 (the curse) informal Menstruation.
Example sentences
  • If a mother refers to her period as ‘the curse,’ her daughter might take away a negative impression of the whole experience.
2An offensive word or phrase used to express anger or annoyance: his mouth was spitting vile oaths and curses
More example sentences
  • When he visits farmers, ploughmen and herdsmen to offer advice on improving and increasing their yields, he secretly jots down their curses and swear words in a small notebook.
  • Kia paused to take a deep breath and then spewed out a long list of swear words and curses (which I would get sued for writing down).
  • A tirade of four letter words and curses spilled from her mouth as what Griffin had just told her hit home.
obscenity, swear word, expletive, oath, profanity, four-letter word, dirty word, blasphemy
informal cuss, cuss word
formal imprecation


1 [with object] Invoke or use a curse against: it often seemed as if the family had been cursed
More example sentences
  • Claims that the woman invoked a loa to curse him with insanity are invalidated by a complete lack of proof that he ever became insane.
  • Why don't you stop cursing my family and leave us alone, you're dead now!
  • Her family is cursed, disgraced, and she's come back to the center of it.
put a curse on, put the evil eye on, anathematize, damn, hex, jinx
archaic imprecate
1.1 (be cursed with) Be afflicted with: many owners have been cursed with a series of bankruptcies
More example sentences
  • His grandmother had the same affliction that his mother was cursed with.
  • Britain is cursed with equally bleak towns, and even bleaker suburbs, from the ‘grey box’ blight that peppers the stunning Highlands to city corners that even rats wouldn't loiter in after dark.
  • It is a trait he has been cursed with all his life.
afflict, trouble, plague, bedevil
2 [no object] Utter offensive words in anger or annoyance: drivers were cursing and sounding their horns
More example sentences
  • I swore loudly, cursing again when the noise made my head ache.
  • The driver was cursing and swearing, but his fury stopped short of him actually getting out of the car.
  • Tess cursed silently under her breath as she knew she could not stay in this hut.
swear, blaspheme, take the Lord's name in vain
informal cuss
archaic execrate
2.1 [with object] Address with offensive words: I cursed myself for my carelessness
More example sentences
  • Faith's heart sank with those words, and she cursed herself inwardly for swallowing her pride and coming to him.
  • She cursed herself inwardly as the words left her and knew what was about to happen next.
  • I jumped as a sharp knock sounded at my door and cursed myself for it.



Example sentences
  • Such was the experience of a woman who took her future in-laws to meet her parents for the first time. Her in-laws were big cursers, while her own family never swore.
  • This makes for unsafe highways, road rage and a nation of cursers.
  • Shakespeare's most virulent cursers are always the most oppressed and powerless.


Old English, of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with curse

amerce, asperse, averse, biodiverse, burse, coerce, converse, diverse, Erse, hearse, immerse, intersperse, nurse, perse, perverse, purse, reimburse, submerse, terce, terse, transverse, verse, worse

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: curse

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