or cur·ly·cue

[ kur-li-kyoo ]
/ ˈkɜr lɪˌkyu /


an ornamental, fancy curl or twist, as in a signature.

Nearby words

  1. curlew,
  2. curlew sandpiper,
  3. curley,
  4. curley, james michael,
  5. curli,
  6. curling,
  7. curling iron,
  8. curling stone,
  9. curling tongs,
  10. curling's ulcer

Origin of curlicue

First recorded in 1835–45; curly + cue2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for curlicue

  • His face and hands were spare and lean, but his uniform was immaculate, covered with every curlicue the regulations allowed.

    The Risk Profession|Donald Edwin Westlake
  • Eventually old Clay Kittredge died, and the son chopped the "Jr." curlicue from the end of his name and began a new rgime.

    In a Little Town|Rupert Hughes
  • I am called Curlicue, and am an object of derision; I entreat you to make me less ridiculous.'

  • One somewhat distinctive feature is found here, namely, the very frequent use of the curlicue or roll as an ornamental feature.

British Dictionary definitions for curlicue


/ (ˈkɜːlɪˌkjuː) /


an intricate ornamental curl or twist

Word Origin for curlicue

C19: from curly + cue ²

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 curlicue



1843, American English, from curly + cue, perhaps from French queue "tail" or letter Q in its looping script form. Earlier in this sense was curlie-wurlie (1772).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper