Definition of curiosity in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A strong desire to know or learn something.

    ‘filled with curiosity, she peered through the window’
    ‘curiosity got the better of me, so I called him’
    • ‘At this statement my ears perked up, curiosity overtaking me.’
    • ‘However, a warm breeze on the back of her neck aroused her curiosity.’
    • ‘I was close to backing out, but my morbid curiosity got the best of me.’
    • ‘Rob still sparked a great curiosity in me.’
    • ‘Many were also indulging a healthy curiosity about the outside world.’
    • ‘The latter is a moralistic bore who puts intellectual curiosity second to her desire to pontificate.’
    • ‘When the buzz begins to build about a film, my curiosity is piqued.’
    • ‘Plus, they're indulging their intellectual curiosity.’
    • ‘Questions should be answered as they arise so that the child's natural curiosity is satisfied as she matures.’
    • ‘I made a quick glance over my shoulder, before I indulged my curiosity.’
    • ‘My insatiable curiosity got the best of me.’
    • ‘In his essay on Leonardo, Freud even derives curiosity and the desire for knowledge from sexuality.’
    • ‘The young woman was sitting forward in her seat, a look of almost childlike curiosity on her face.’
    • ‘His eyes searched hers curiously, but he found nothing but mild curiosity in her eyes.’
    • ‘And I am consumed by curiosity and a desire to know what on earth this cool thing is going to be like.’
    • ‘With curiosity now piqued, let's dig a bit deeper into the wording.’
    • ‘After having car trouble the teens backtrack to the church to satisfy their morbid curiosity.’
    • ‘But it did spark a curiosity that itched until she completed a short story.’
    • ‘The little boy looked at the opponent with a mixed feeling of curiosity and fear.’
    • ‘Idle curiosity prompts the question: who applies it for him?’
    inquisitiveness, interest, spirit of enquiry
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  • 2An unusual or interesting object or fact.

    ‘he showed them some of the curiosities of the house’
    • ‘A true memorial must address the imagination and not merely present an assortment of ghoulish curiosities.’
    • ‘But at some point, you can not only observe these curiosities and understand them, but you can control them.’
    • ‘But my well-balanced collection (which was mainly paid for) was replaced by curiosities.’
    • ‘But beyond the collection of curiosities and oddments, nothing extensive or substantive remains from what he said.’
    • ‘Old style anthropological methods treated Indigenous peoples as historical curiosities, as remnants of a dead culture.’
    • ‘And amidst the displays of oddities and curiosities, the museum of anatomy was in some ways the oddest and most curious.’
    • ‘There the shoe trees stand: dippy and pure; curiosities; daisies, not orchids.’
    • ‘Most were merely curiosity seekers, so the police did not disperse them.’
    • ‘The embedding of the displays in a setting with its own architectural claims on our respect and attention makes it difficult to take them as anything but curiosities.’
    • ‘And what a mixture of curiosities, myth, banalities and omissions it was.’
    • ‘It's one of the economic curiosities of American sport.’
    • ‘The primary lesson we took from our Delphic oracle project is not the well-worn message that modern science can elucidate ancient curiosities.’
    • ‘The museum also contains a few worthwhile curiosities.’
    • ‘Curiosity seekers strolled down the street while others cruised past in SUV's.’
    • ‘The mirror is currently on display in the Enlightenment Gallery in a cabinet devoted to other similar curiosities.’
    • ‘Collectors paid much greater sums for medical curiosities.’
    • ‘The exhibit presents the animals as fellow beings we are close to and responsible for, not as exotic curiosities for us to exploit.’
    • ‘They also collected specimens of human and animal freaks in private curiosity cabinets.’
    • ‘Books, clothes, trinkets and curiosities will be on sale from 10 am.’
    • ‘The unusual surface textures of fossil cycads have been interesting curiosities to collectors for a long time.’
    peculiarity, oddity, strangeness, oddness, idiosyncrasy, unusualness, novelty
    oddity, curio, novelty, conversation piece, object of virtu, collector's item
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  • curiosity killed the cat

    • proverb Being inquisitive about other people's affairs may get you into trouble.

      • ‘That's awfully mean of you to tease me like that - curiosity killed the cat, you know.’
      • ‘I can tell that he really needed that information, for a reason that I really didn't want to know but you know what they say… curiosity killed the cat.’
      • ‘I know, curiosity killed the cat, but felines have nine lives.’
      • ‘Didn't your mother ever tell you curiosity killed the cat?’
      • ‘I won't reveal any more of the plot than that, but if there's a moral to this story, it's that old truism that says that curiosity killed the cat.’
      • ‘Defending, he said: ‘This is a case where curiosity killed the cat.’’
      • ‘She wasn't the sort of girl to say something like that that meant another, still curiosity killed the cat and James had never been able to resist asking.’
      • ‘He must have forgotten curiosity killed the cat, but I haven't.’
      • ‘But anyway, curiosity killed the cat… but you're not a cat.’
      • ‘Stuffed as we were, however, curiosity killed the cat - and it very nearly took us with it as we recklessly agreed to share a devilled chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream.’


Late Middle English: from Old French curiousete, from Latin curiositas, from curiosus (see curious).