Main definitions of curie in US English:

: curie1Curie2


(also Ci)

nounPlural curies

  • 1A unit of radioactivity, corresponding to 3.7 × 10¹⁰ disintegrations per second.

    • ‘In 1957, there was an explosion at a waste storage facility that blew 2 million curies of radiation into the atmosphere.’
    • ‘The activity (rate of decay) of Rn is expressed in units called curies.’
    • ‘The sediment around its shores blew 5 million curies of radioactive dust over 25,000 square kilometres, irradiating 500,000 people.’
    • ‘By 1963, the year of my parent's marriage, the average release of beta emitters from reactor effluent was 14, 500 curies per day.’
    • ‘In 1983, they were fined for releasing 50,000 curies of radiation into the Irish Sea, some of which ended up on local beaches, forcing their closure.’
    1. 1.1 The quantity of radioactive substance that emits one curie of activity.
      • ‘During that time I used to handle vials with over 5 curies (which is about 100 times more than what you inquire about) of this radioactive substance on almost daily basis.’
      • ‘Each generator contains up to 40,000 curies of highly radioactive material.’
      • ‘The new tenants discovered an old irradiator containing 19 curies of cobalt-60.’


Early 20th century: named after Pierre and Marie Curie.




Main definitions of curie in US English:

: curie1Curie2


proper noun

  • Name of French physicists Marie (1867–1934), born Maria Sklodowska in Poland, and her husband Pierre (1859–1906); pioneers in radioactivity. Working together on the mineral pitchblende, they discovered the elements polonium and radium. After her husband's accidental death, Marie isolated radium. She died of leukemia, caused by prolonged exposure to radioactive materials. She shared the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics and the 1911 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Becquerel.