adjective, curl·i·er, curl·i·est.

curling or tending to curl: curly blond hair.
having curls (usually used in combination): curlyheaded.
having a rippled or undulating appearance, as cut and finished wood: curly maple.

Origin of curly

First recorded in 1720–30; curl + -y1
Related formscurl·i·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for curly

Contemporary Examples of curly

Historical Examples of curly

  • 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 or curliest

tending to curl; curling
having curls
(of timber) having irregular curves or waves in the grain
Australian and NZ difficult to counter or answera curly question
Derived Formscurliness, 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

Word Origin and History for curly

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper