verb (used with or without object), cur·dled, cur·dling.

to change into curd; coagulate; congeal.
to spoil; turn sour.
to go wrong; turn bad or fail: Their friendship began to curdle as soon as they became business rivals.


    curdle the/one's blood, to fill a person with horror or fear; terrify: a scream that curdled the blood.

Origin of curdle

First recorded in 1580–90; curd + -le
Related formscur·dler, nounnon·cur·dling, adjective, nounun·cur·dled, adjectiveun·cur·dling, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for curdle

Contemporary Examples of curdle

  • No matter what the subject, he came up with a sound bite that could curdle milk.

  • And though topical humor tends to be transitory, a really bad gag can take on a life of its own and curdle a political career.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Funny Is Obama?

    Sandra McElwaine

    January 30, 2009

Historical Examples of curdle

British Dictionary definitions for curdle



to turn or cause to turn into curd
curdle someone's blood to fill someone with fear
Derived Formscurdler, noun

Word Origin for curdle

C16 (crudled, past participle): from curd
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

Word Origin and History for curdle

1630s (earlier crudle, 1580s), "to thicken, cause to congeal," frequentative of curd (v.) "to make into curd" (late 14c.; see curd). Of blood, in figurative sense "to inspire horror" from c.1600. Related: Curdled (1590); curdling (c.1700, almost always with reference to blood, in the figurative sense).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper