See more synonyms for curly on
adjective, curl·i·er, curl·i·est.
  1. curling or tending to curl: curly blond hair.
  2. having curls (usually used in combination): curlyheaded.
  3. 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. 2018

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
  1. tending to curl; curling
  2. having curls
  3. (of timber) having irregular curves or waves in the grain
  4. 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