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[kur-lee] /ˈkɜr li/
adjective, curlier, curliest.
curling or tending to curl:
curly blond hair.
having curls (usually used in combination):
having a rippled or undulating appearance, as cut and finished wood:
curly maple.
Origin of curly
First recorded in 1720-30; curl + -y1
Related forms
curliness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for curly
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Is it my fault, too, if my hair is too curly, and if I don't think just as other people do?

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Some one has remarked that all the good children who die have curly hair.'

    Wilfrid Cumbermede George MacDonald
  • He looked so pretty with his curly hair that she could not resist him.

  • He was a short man, burly, with curly hair, and not an unpleasant face.

    The House Under the Sea

    Sir Max Pemberton
  • You know she's red—I've really got a red one—a curly red one!

    The Christian Hall Caine
British Dictionary definitions for curly


adjective curlier, curliest
tending to curl; curling
having curls
(of timber) having irregular curves or waves in the grain
(Austral & NZ) difficult to counter or answer: a curly question
Derived Forms
curliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for curly

1770s, from curl + -y (2); earliest use is of hair. Related: Curliness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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