Definition of curdle in US English:



  • Separate or cause to separate into curds or lumps.

    no object ‘take care not to let the soup boil or it will curdle’
    with object ‘making cheese by curdling milk’
    • ‘The guide explained they add rennet, an enzyme from the stomach of calves, which causes the milk to curdle.’
    • ‘Some evidence suggests that Spanish cheesemakers historically used the extract of dried cardoon flowers as a milk curdling agent, but its more common use has always been as a vegetable.’
    • ‘When does this journalistic milk begin to curdle?’
    • ‘The curd which is half curdled has been considered as a totally unwholesome food item.’
    • ‘Milk in cheese production is curdled using chymosin - an enzyme present in rennet, found in calves' stomachs.’
    • ‘All he got for his pains was a look that would have curdled milk.’
    • ‘His book appeared in 1973, when hair was still worn long and flares flapped around the ankles, but the summer-of-love optimism of six years earlier had curdled and turned sour.’
    • ‘There are records of cheesemakers is the Scottish Highlanders, Cheshire and Gloucestershire using Lady's Bedstraw to curdle milk and colour their cheese.’
    • ‘I don't just mean sour, I mean lumpy and curdled and almost cheese.’
    • ‘If the tub can be left for a decent period of time in direct sunlight, so the cream begins to separate and curdle, all the better.’
    • ‘Dear, dear, the milk is a bit sour and curdled, is it not?’
    • ‘Where cattle are kept, curdled milk is used with millet.’
    • ‘Tofu is a popular soya bean product, made by grinding, boiling and draining the soya beans, and curdling their milk to form a solid.’
    • ‘She also had a temper that could strip paint and curdle milk, but her humour made up for that.’
    • ‘But for more than 12 years peace and harmony in the sleepy lanes was turned sour, curdled by a malicious poison-pen writer.’
    • ‘The milk of human kindness curdles in his characters into a corrosive acid eating into their very souls.’
    • ‘One of my earliest memories is looking down through a bay of picture windows at the Tillamook factory and watching milk curdle on the way to becoming cheese.’
    • ‘His growl is impressively rabid, and his bark could curdle a bowl of milk at 20 paces.’
    • ‘If that wasn't enough to curdle any milk, the five selected finalists were then required to prepare a gourmet luncheon for 100 assembled guests from the media and restaurant industries.’
    • ‘She must curdle the milk, make Macbeth abjure his good qualities, if he is to act as she wishes.’
    clot, coagulate, congeal, separate into curds, separate into lumps, solidify, thicken, condense
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  • make one's blood curdle

    • Fill one with horror.

      • ‘And what we get is responses that just make your blood curdle when you get them back.’
      • ‘The '68 original remains the one to make your blood curdle.’
      • ‘It's just that the idea of you with someone else, it makes my blood curdle.’
      • ‘Some of them made my blood curdle.’
      • ‘Their eyebrows light up and their eyes shift back and forth in a way that made my blood curdle.’
      • ‘Thinking back, it makes my blood curdle because I played without a helmet and with little padding.’


Late 16th century: frequentative of obsolete curd ‘congeal’.