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’
    • ‘Where cattle are kept, curdled milk is used with millet.’
    • ‘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 guide explained they add rennet, an enzyme from the stomach of calves, which causes the milk to curdle.’
    • ‘All he got for his pains was a look that would have curdled milk.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His growl is impressively rabid, and his bark could curdle a bowl of milk at 20 paces.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I don't just mean sour, I mean lumpy and curdled and almost cheese.’
    • ‘There are records of cheesemakers is the Scottish Highlanders, Cheshire and Gloucestershire using Lady's Bedstraw to curdle milk and colour their cheese.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She must curdle the milk, make Macbeth abjure his good qualities, if he is to act as she wishes.’
    • ‘Milk in cheese production is curdled using chymosin - an enzyme present in rennet, found in calves' stomachs.’
    • ‘When does this journalistic milk begin to curdle?’
    • ‘The curd which is half curdled has been considered as a totally unwholesome food item.’
    • ‘The milk of human kindness curdles in his characters into a corrosive acid eating into their very souls.’
    • ‘Tofu is a popular soya bean product, made by grinding, boiling and draining the soya beans, and curdling their milk to form a solid.’
    • ‘Dear, dear, the milk is a bit sour and curdled, is it not?’
    • ‘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.’
    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.

      • ‘Thinking back, it makes my blood curdle because I played without a helmet and with little padding.’
      • ‘It's just that the idea of you with someone else, it makes my blood curdle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Their eyebrows light up and their eyes shift back and forth in a way that made my blood curdle.’
      • ‘Some of them made my blood curdle.’


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