[ kur-ling ]
/ ˈkɜr lɪŋ /
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a game played on ice in which two teams of four players each compete in sliding curling stones toward a mark in the center of a circular target.
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Origin of curling

First recorded in 1610–20; perhaps curl + -ing1, from the motion imparted to the sliding stones
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is curling?

Curling is a sport, played on ice, that involves trying to slide a heavy round stone object (called a curling stone) to the center of a target area on the ice.

It is typically played by two four-player teams. Teams take turns sliding stones (which have a handle and are usually made of granite) toward the circular target area (the area is known as the house and its center is known as the button or the tee). Points are scored by the team that gets a stone closest to the button. Any other stones that are closer than the opposing team’s closest stone also result in points.

During each turn, one player slides a stone down the ice while up to three of the other players on the team slide along with the stone while attempting to manipulate its speed and direction by sweeping the ice in its path with broomlike brushes. Sweeping the ice helps the stone to travel farther and straighter.

Strategy involves not only placing one’s own stones, but also knocking away opponent’s stones.

Curling matches, sometimes called bonspiels, consist of multiple rounds, with multiple stone slides from each team during each round.

Curling is an event in the Winter Olympics. Wheelchair curling is an event in the Paralympic Winter Games.

Curling is especially popular in Scotland, Canada, and some Scandinavian countries.

Example: The Winter Olympics are coming up, which means I’ll be watching a lot of curling.

Where does curling come from?

The first records of the word curling in reference to the sport come from the early 1600s. The name is based on the verb curl in reference to how the stones tend to curl (curve) at the end of their path.

Curling is believed to have originated in the 1500s in Scotland. The international curling organization known as the World Curling Federation was established in 1838 (then called the Grand Caledonian Curling Club and later the International Curling Federation).

Curling was an event at the first Winter Olympic games in 1924, but did not return as a full Olympic event until the 1998 Winter Olympics. Both men’s and women’s competitions have been featured at every Winter Olympics since.

The most prestigious annual curling event is the World Curling Championships, which features international competition.

Did you know ... ?

What are some words that share a root or word element with curling

What are some words that often get used in discussing curling?

How is curling used in real life?

Curling is particularly popular in Scotland and Canada. It usually enters mainstream awareness around the time of the Winter Olympics, with many casual spectators enjoying its novelty.


Try using curling!

In curling, what is the circular target area called?

A. the square
B. the curlicue
C. the bullseye
D. the house

How to use curling in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for curling

/ (ˈkɜːlɪŋ) /

a game played on ice, esp in Scotland and Canada, in which heavy stones with handles (curling stones) are slid towards a target (tee)
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