Definition of curse in US English:



  • 1A solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.

    ‘she'd put a curse on him’
    • ‘Dominic explained that the story goes that, before her death, Lucy put a curse on all successive governors of the old gaol that they would die young.’
    • ‘These actions made a kindly medicine man angry, and he put a curse on them.’
    • ‘She put a curse on our department, which has still not been lifted.’
    • ‘He started to attack the Goddess, but she then asked for the Lady's permission to put a curse on him.’
    • ‘If he made her too mad she might put a curse on him.’
    • ‘He says that some witches put a curse on his youngest daughter, causing her to have bad headaches.’
    • ‘Someone or something put a curse on Edmund that followed his family to the New World and took root in Dudleytown.’
    • ‘You should ask only for protection from someone who has ill will toward you, and never put a curse on him; he's cursing himself with his own behavior.’
    • ‘But the day I stood up against Panday, pujas of other kinds were probably held to put a curse on me.’
    • ‘The cast put a curse on him, and two days later he was dead.’
    • ‘Pete claims they can put a curse on you similar to the curses or hexes described by voodoo, witchcraft, or a good mummy story.’
    • ‘Gary said: ‘I don't know if it is an act of God, but it does seem like someone has put a curse on me.’’
    • ‘When you fought Dracula, in the first game, he put a curse on you.’
    • ‘If we lived in another age, I would be inclined to believe that someone had put a curse on her.’
    • ‘Now, I wonder which other sporting events I can put a curse on?’
    • ‘It's like some witch put a curse on me that would make all my pictures look horrendous for the rest of my life.’
    • ‘Wouldn't you like someday to put a curse on the whole race of dogs?’
    • ‘To seal my parents promise that I would become a pirate, Joe put a curse on me.’
    • ‘While no one ever intentionally put a curse on the Red Sox, the same can't be said about the Cubs.’
    • ‘Isis put a curse on this top floor so normally I can't come up here.’
    malediction, the evil eye, imprecation, execration, voodoo, hoodoo
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    1. 1.1usually in singular A cause of harm or misery.
      ‘impatience is the curse of our day and age’
      • ‘The problem, which is a blessing and a curse, is that this industry has an abundance of relatively young and inexperienced trailblazers.’
      • ‘Too many communities in East Lancashire suffer from the curse of juvenile nuisance and much of it is caused and worsened by under-age drinking.’
      • ‘The pill is the latest attempt by pharmaceutical companies to tackle a problem labelled the curse of the 21st century - social awkwardness.’
      • ‘This is the great curse of the 20th Century secular scientists who are an abomination in the eye of The Lord.’
      • ‘It was also, in other words, the curse of the national interest.’
      • ‘But for five years he went into a colossal sulk, blaming his problems on ‘the curse of being lower middle class’ and refusing to give interviews.’
      • ‘Forget anything you may have read about the supposed advantages of Atkins, the dangers of dairy or, for that matter, the curse of cholesterol.’
      • ‘I am thinking here of journalists, but more commonly of activists for whom the European or North American identity he or she was born with is a burden if not a curse.’
      • ‘He suffered from the curse of the goddess Nemesis: May he who loves not others, love himself.’
      • ‘He denounced them as the curse and weakness of Spain, the spoiled children of the peninsular family.’
      • ‘As if life isn't enough of a curse, I was afflicted with Tourette Syndrome.’
      • ‘Privately, he agreed with the view of the government that inflation was a curse and a burden on ordinary workers.’
      • ‘Some people were afflicted with the curse of bad timing.’
      • ‘She walked as though she was ashamed of her beauty, like it was a terrible curse she had been burdened with.’
      • ‘It seems to be the curse of this column to write about clubs in trouble.’
      • ‘The statement that they peaked a few years ago underscores an inherent problem with most lists: A curse of the ephemeral.’
      • ‘Even the Easter rising of 1916 was doomed before it commenced through lack of proper communication and the old curse of command and counter command.’
      • ‘If the playground idea is to go ahead, a lot of thought must be put into where it is located to avoid the risk of it becoming a curse rather than a blessing.’
      • ‘The Tennessean sons of a preacher man swerved past the curse of the ‘difficult’ second album to create an almighty slab of jaded gothic Southern rock.’
      • ‘They judged every hybrid from then forth as a curse and a danger to be destroyed.’
      • ‘Even worse, my parents had turned this marvelous blessing into a wicked curse and an overbearing burden that I alone have to live with the rest of my life.’
      evil, blight, scourge, plague, cancer, canker, poison
      affliction, burden, cross to bear, bane, bitter pill, misfortune, misery, ordeal, trial, tribulation, torment, trouble, problem
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    2. 1.2the curseinformal Menstruation.
      • ‘If a mother refers to her period as ‘the curse,’ her daughter might take away a negative impression of the whole experience.’
  • 2An offensive word or phrase used to express anger or annoyance.

    ‘his mouth was spitting vile oaths and curses’
    • ‘A tirade of four letter words and curses spilled from her mouth as what Griffin had just told her hit home.’
    • ‘Without thinking, she recoiled and said the foulest curse word she knew.’
    • ‘An inability to perform even the simplest of DIY exercises without the verbose delivery of staccato sentences, gratuitously peppered with offensive curses.’
    • ‘The man pounced at Kora, the attacker continuing to growl angry curses and words too low for anyone to hear.’
    • ‘Every curse, every hateful word, every thought of death, everything was put in that smile.’
    • ‘My character was required to swear a lot but I asked for the curse words to be taken out of the script because I didn't want to project that image.’
    • ‘After a gasped curse, a word that a six year old shouldn't know, she picked herself up and sprinted deeper into the dark abyss.’
    • ‘‘Bite me,’ I said, because it was the closest thing to a curse word I knew how to say.’
    • ‘My curse word is the standard one, the four letter one.’
    • ‘He looked as if he was about to explode, which he did but Sarah pounced on him and covered his entire head with the bag, muffling out his string of colorful words of curses and such.’
    • ‘Kia paused to take a deep breath and then spewed out a long list of swear words and curses (which I would get sued for writing down).’
    • ‘Another tirade of curses and hateful words followed, until Captain O'Neill showed her into the mess with great care and affection.’
    • ‘When he visits farmers, ploughmen and herdsmen to offer advice on improving and increasing their yields, he secretly jots down their curses and swear words in a small notebook.’
    • ‘Muttering the few curse words she knew, Cielle kicked the trunk of a nearby tree.’
    • ‘There is a gasp at such a strong curse word and parents clap their hands over the ears of their children as even worse is shouted by the mayor's wife.’
    • ‘Unpleasant epithets, abuses, unprintable words and curses were being shot at each other with anger-soaked bullets.’
    • ‘The curse words he had screamed at her still rang in her ears.’
    • ‘Rushwind curses in anger at the tactic employed by his opponent.’
    • ‘Their words sometimes resemble curses smacking of trash, provocations or an outburst of their personal emotion or the emotion of their own group.’
    • ‘She suppressed a curse of anger, when her dress got a hang on a branch.’
    swear word, expletive, oath, profanity, four-letter word, dirty word, obscenity, imprecation, blasphemy, vulgarism, vulgarity
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  • 1with object Invoke or use a curse against.

    ‘it often seemed as if the family had been cursed’
    • ‘Why don't you stop cursing my family and leave us alone, you're dead now!’
    • ‘The youngest was killed, and the family forever cursed the comet.’
    • ‘She felt her cheeks go warm again, and cursed her family for giving her such a pale complexion.’
    • ‘It is said to be cursed - that whoever owns it will have their family destroyed.’
    • ‘He cursed it because he was thought dead by his family and could never go back.’
    • ‘Five centuries ago, my whole family was cursed and turned into werecats.’
    • ‘I wanted to curse them for nearly destroying my family.’
    • ‘The chains had been cursed, jinxed by the many hands that had been bound.’
    • ‘After all she is a girl, and her birth was an event cursed by her entire family.’
    • ‘When she found his family, she cursed them to live their life as werecats.’
    • ‘Just before she is taken away, she curses the Baron's family: the firstborn of every generation will die before the father does.’
    • ‘Upon arriving, Patrick is enlightened to the whole situation as well as to the fact that the family is cursed.’
    • ‘I've been saying for quite a few years now that my family is cursed.’
    • ‘Her family is cursed, disgraced, and she's come back to the center of it.’
    • ‘Claims that the woman invoked a loa to curse him with insanity are invalidated by a complete lack of proof that he ever became insane.’
    • ‘Believing the house to be haunted and cursed the remainder of the family moved.’
    • ‘No one really knew what the secrets were but most thought the whole family was cursed and were involved with the Devil and witchcraft.’
    • ‘Hercules, after killing his family in a fit of rage, was cursed to perform twelve impossible labors.’
    • ‘My real family didn't come looking for me, so I curse their very names. /’
    • ‘I decided there is nothing I can do about it, so I tried to sleep again, cursing her silently that she would lose all her eyebrows tomorrow.’
    put a curse on, put the evil eye on, execrate, imprecate, hoodoo
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    1. 1.1be cursed with Be afflicted with.
      ‘many owners have been cursed with a series of bankruptcies’
      • ‘And as usual, dear reader, I was cursed with the ability to remember every sordid detail despite being three sheets to the wind.’
      • ‘His grandmother had the same affliction that his mother was cursed with.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, Breau was cursed with massive drug addictions, which helped lead to his untimely death in 1984.’
      • ‘I'm now fearing that it will be my bad luck to be cursed with further bureaucratic hold-ups.’
      • ‘Gardna we'll live forever and be cursed with all the riches in the world!’
      • ‘Britain is cursed with equally bleak towns, and even bleaker suburbs, from the ‘grey box’ blight that peppers the stunning Highlands to city corners that even rats wouldn't loiter in after dark.’
      • ‘But as I sketched out my talk last week, I was cursed with a clear memory of what I was like as a fifth-grader and what I occasionally thought of the parade of humanity who trekked through our class assemblies.’
      • ‘However, I was cursed with health problems which no doctor seemed able to diagnose or cure, suffering regularly from colds, digestive troubles, allergies, and breathing and vocal difficulties.’
      • ‘But then they may not be cursed with quite the same burden of suspicion.’
      • ‘I like to wake up and wonder what the weather's doing, not be cursed with 24-hour sunshine all year round.’
      • ‘But unlike many of the others, they were cursed with an ineluctable propensity to compare themselves with others-and to suffer, in their own eyes, by the comparison.’
      • ‘Carol seems to only see me as a blood-thirsty demon that she has been cursed with…’
      • ‘She reveals to him that she is cursed with an affliction that causes her to fill up with water that can only be released if she does ‘something wicked.’’
      • ‘She just wanted to be released from this horrible life she had been cursed with.’
      • ‘I'd been cursed with more than one day of detention, of course, but Josh hadn't been there on my second day.’
      • ‘My generation, who lived most of our lives through the Troubles, were cursed with witnessing history.’
      • ‘It is a trait he has been cursed with all his life.’
      • ‘In the weeks and months after her youngest son found his brother silent and unresponsive in his bed, Mary was cursed with the wisdom of hindsight.’
      • ‘What blood had my poor daughter been cursed with, that she'd turn us away like this?’
      • ‘She jogged over to the docks, feeling much more free without the dresses women were cursed with.’
      be afflicted with, be troubled by, be plagued with, suffer from, be burdened with, be blighted with, be bedevilled by
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  • 2no object Utter offensive words in anger or annoyance.

    ‘drivers were cursing and sounding their horns’
    • ‘Sade ran into a mirror in front of him, then cursed loudly.’
    • ‘Another boom sounded in the distance, and one of the Druids cursed fluently in a foreign language.’
    • ‘She cursed in frustration, then leapt from the shelf and flew out through the door.’
    • ‘Angstrom slammed the door to his flat shut, cursing inwardly at his own stupidity.’
    • ‘The man cursed so loudly that she was sure that people in streets outside could hear him.’
    • ‘Be careful to check who is around before you start cursing out loud.’
    • ‘Carlos poured, cursing softly in Spanish as he did so, then walked off.’
    • ‘I was cursing like a sailor and so unnerved my husband that he left the room.’
    • ‘She actually smiled a real smile and I had cursed in front of her.’
    • ‘The father did not deny that his son had cursed in front of the policeman.’
    • ‘Jim cursed in frustration, sending his pen spinning across the desk and onto the floor.’
    • ‘He then cursed inwardly, not at the captain, but at himself.’
    • ‘The driver was cursing and swearing, but his fury stopped short of him actually getting out of the car.’
    • ‘Tess cursed silently under her breath as she knew she could not stay in this hut.’
    • ‘She cursed softly in Spanish before grabbing some clothes and forcing herself to walk.’
    • ‘He cursed loudly, hollering it at the two men who'd raised him.’
    • ‘I swore loudly, cursing again when the noise made my head ache.’
    • ‘I curse like a sailor when I wake up before seven on school mornings.’
    • ‘I cursed out loud, as I tried to remember where I was.’
    • ‘He did that whenever I cursed in front of him.’
    swear, utter profanities, utter oaths, use bad language, use foul language, be foul-mouthed, blaspheme, be blasphemous, take the lord's name in vain, swear like a trooper, damn
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    1. 2.1with object Address with offensive words.
      ‘I cursed myself for my carelessness’
      • ‘I cursed my stupidity as I took the tarry cauldron and whistled it clean.’
      • ‘Groaning and mentally cursing his girly looks, red tainted his face yet again.’
      • ‘I love my books like members of my family but boy, did I curse them as I lugged them up five flights of stairs.’
      • ‘Nothing came out to attack her, and she cursed herself for not coming to help it.’
      • ‘Faith's heart sank with those words, and she cursed herself inwardly for swallowing her pride and coming to him.’
      • ‘Rosie looked up from the stocks she was standing in, once again cursing her lack of judgment.’
      • ‘Yet I cursed myself every time we were caught unawares.’
      • ‘She took a taxi home leaving her family angry and cursing her.’
      • ‘One can curse the darkness or look into the candlelight for hope.’
      • ‘Standing bang there overlooking the mirror, he cursed himself, his prematurely greying lock of hair.’
      • ‘She cursed herself inwardly as the words left her and knew what was about to happen next.’
      • ‘He watches in amazement and mentally curses the fact that his camera is fitted with a macro lens.’
      • ‘Elea concluded lamely inwardly cursing her inability to say what was in her heart.’
      • ‘I cursed myself for not going out before and slammed my fist down on the console.’
      • ‘He cursed his luck and shut his eyes tight, trying to remain motionless.’
      • ‘A feral howl escaped the Employer's lips as they cursed their fate.’
      • ‘Kayla mentally cursed at her stupidity at wasting such a great opportunity.’
      • ‘She slammed the door behind her in haste, then cursed herself for being so noisy.’
      • ‘I jumped as a sharp knock sounded at my door and cursed myself for it.’
      • ‘On his deathbed, wracked by tuberculosis, he seems to have cursed his fate.’
      revile, rail against, inveigh against, fulminate against, attack, upbraid, berate, harangue, lambaste, reprimand, castigate, chastise, rebuke, scold, chide, censure, condemn, damn, denounce, find fault with, run down, take to task, vilify, denigrate, calumniate, insult, abuse, slander, smear
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Old English, of unknown origin.