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[kuhs] /kʌs/ Informal.
verb (used without object)
to use profanity; curse; swear.
verb (used with object)
to swear at; curse:
He cussed the pedestrian for getting in his way.
to criticize or reprimand in harsh terms (often followed by out):
The coach cussed out the team for losing.
curse word; oath.
a person or animal:
a strange but likable cuss.
Origin of cuss
1765-75, Americanism; variant of curse, with loss of r and shortening of vowel, as in ass2, bass2, passel, etc.
Related forms
cusser, noun
Can be confused
curse, cuss. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cussing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • cussing himself for——” The rest was lost in the noise of the team.

    In Her Own Right John Reed Scott
  • You'll die a natural death in bed, unless you gets to cussing me.

    Bar-20 Days Clarence E. Mulford
  • It was flying all about the room yelling and cussing us out.

    Man of Many Minds E. Everett Evans
  • And we heard Duran's voice; "cussing in French," Ray said he was doing.

    The Voodoo Gold Trail Walter Walden
  • Away off beyond the horizon is old man Brown cussing blue streaks 'cause he can't find much constable.

    A Man in the Open Roger Pocock
  • You can tell he was a gentleman once by the fluency of his cussing.

    Sea-Hounds Lewis R. Freeman
  • Noise isn't authority, and there's no sense in ripping and roaring and cussing around the office when things don't please you.

    Old Gorgon Graham George Horace Lorimer
  • "Maybe I did, Jimmie," he said, half as if he were already sorry for the cussing out.

    The Wreckers Francis Lynde
  • In this he did all his cussing at every port; and it seemed to produce everywhere the proper effect.

    Vacation days in Greece Rufus B. Richardson
British Dictionary definitions for cussing


a curse; oath
a person or animal, esp an annoying one
another word for curse (sense 8), curse (sense 9)
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 cussing



"to say bad words," 1815, alteration of curse (v.). Related: Cussed; cussing. To cuss out attested by 1881.



1775, American English dialectal, "troublesome person or animal," an alteration of curse (n.), or else a shortening of the slang sense of customer.


"to say bad words," 1815, alteration of curse (v.). Related: Cussed; cussing. To cuss out attested by 1881.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cussing



A man; fellow; guy •Most use since the 1860s

[1775+; a shortening of customer; or perhaps ''one who curses'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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