[kur-ee, kuhr-ee]

verb (used with object), cur·ried, cur·ry·ing.

to rub and clean (a horse) with a currycomb.
to dress (tanned hides) by soaking, scraping, beating, coloring, etc.
to beat; thrash.


    curry favor, to seek to advance oneself through flattery or fawning: His fellow workers despised him for currying favor with the boss.

Origin of curry

1250–1300; Middle English cor(r)ayen, cor(r)eyen < Anglo-French curreier, cognate with Old French correer, earlier conreer to make ready < Vulgar Latin *conrēdāre; see corody Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for curry favor

bootlick, cajole, court, flatter, sweet-talk

British Dictionary definitions for curry favor



noun plural -ries

a spicy dish of oriental, esp Indian, origin that is made in many ways but usually consists of meat or fish prepared in a hot piquant sauce
curry seasoning or sauce
give someone curry Australian slang to assault (a person) verbally or physically

verb -ries, -rying or -ried

(tr) to prepare (food) with curry powder or sauce

Word Origin for curry

C16: from Tamil kari sauce, relish



verb -ries, -rying or -ried (tr)

to beat vigorously, as in order to clean
to dress and finish (leather) after it has been tanned to make it strong, flexible, and waterproof
to groom (a horse)
curry favour to ingratiate oneself, esp with superiors

Word Origin for curry

C13: from Old French correer to make ready, from Vulgar Latin conrēdāre (unattested), from rēdāre (unattested) to provide, of Germanic origin



John (Anthony). 1949–94, British ice skater: won the figure-skating gold medal in the 1976 Olympic Games
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 curry favor

early 16c., altered by folk etymology from curry favel (c.1400) from Old French correier fauvel "to be false, hypocritical," literally "to curry the chestnut horse," which in medieval French allegories was a symbol of cunning and deceit. See curry (v.). Old French fauvel is from a Germanic source and ultimately related to fallow (adj.); the sense here is entangled with that of similar-sounding Old French favele "lying, deception," from Latin fabella, diminutive of fabula (see fable (n.)).



late 13c., "to rub down a horse," from Anglo-French curreier "to curry-comb a horse," from Old French correier "put in order, prepare, curry," from con-, intensive prefix (see com-), + reier "arrange," from a Germanic source (see ready). Related: Curried; currying.



the spice, 1680s, from Tamil kari "sauce, relish for rice."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

curry favor in Culture

curry favor

“Currying favor” with someone means trying to ingratiate oneself by fawning over that person: “The ambassador curried favor with the dictator by praising his construction projects.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with curry favor

curry favor

Seek gain or advancement by fawning or flattery, as in Edith was famous for currying favor with her teachers. This expression originally came from the Old French estriller fauvel, “curry the fallow horse,” a beast that in a 14th-century allegory stood for duplicity and cunning. It came into English about 1400 as curry favel—that is, curry (groom with a currycomb) the animal—and in the 1500s became the present term.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.