Definition of curiosity in English:



  • 1A 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’
    • ‘In his essay on Leonardo, Freud even derives curiosity and the desire for knowledge from sexuality.’
    • ‘Plus, they're indulging their intellectual curiosity.’
    • ‘My insatiable curiosity got the best of me.’
    • ‘I made a quick glance over my shoulder, before I indulged my curiosity.’
    • ‘With curiosity now piqued, let's dig a bit deeper into the wording.’
    • ‘But it did spark a curiosity that itched until she completed a short story.’
    • ‘The young woman was sitting forward in her seat, a look of almost childlike curiosity on her face.’
    • ‘The latter is a moralistic bore who puts intellectual curiosity second to her desire to pontificate.’
    • ‘Questions should be answered as they arise so that the child's natural curiosity is satisfied as she matures.’
    • ‘And I am consumed by curiosity and a desire to know what on earth this cool thing is going to be like.’
    • ‘At this statement my ears perked up, curiosity overtaking me.’
    • ‘However, a warm breeze on the back of her neck aroused her curiosity.’
    • ‘When the buzz begins to build about a film, my curiosity is piqued.’
    • ‘His eyes searched hers curiously, but he found nothing but mild curiosity in her eyes.’
    • ‘Idle curiosity prompts the question: who applies it for him?’
    • ‘After having car trouble the teens backtrack to the church to satisfy their morbid curiosity.’
    • ‘Rob still sparked a great curiosity in me.’
    • ‘The little boy looked at the opponent with a mixed feeling of curiosity and fear.’
    • ‘I was close to backing out, but my morbid curiosity got the best of me.’
    • ‘Many were also indulging a healthy curiosity about the outside world.’
    inquisitiveness, interest, spirit of enquiry
    View synonyms
  • 2A strange or unusual object or fact.

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


  • curiosity killed the cat

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

      • ‘Defending, he said: ‘This is a case where curiosity killed the cat.’’
      • ‘Didn't your mother ever tell you curiosity killed the cat?’
      • ‘I know, curiosity killed the cat, but felines have nine lives.’
      • ‘That's awfully mean of you to tease me like that - curiosity killed the cat, you know.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘But anyway, curiosity killed the cat… but you're not a cat.’
      • ‘He must have forgotten curiosity killed the cat, but I haven't.’
      • ‘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).