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curse

[kurs]
See more synonyms for curse on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. the expression of a wish that misfortune, evil, doom, etc., befall a person, group, etc.
  2. a formula or charm intended to cause such misfortune to another.
  3. the act of reciting such a formula.
  4. curse word.
  5. an evil that has been invoked upon one.
  6. the cause of evil, misfortune, or trouble.
  7. something accursed.
  8. Slang. the menstrual period; menstruation (usually preceded by the).
  9. an ecclesiastical censure or anathema.
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verb (used with object), cursed or curst, curs·ing.
  1. to wish or invoke evil, calamity, injury, or destruction upon.
  2. to swear at.
  3. to blaspheme.
  4. to afflict with great evil.
  5. to excommunicate.
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verb (used without object), cursed or curst, curs·ing.
  1. to utter curses; swear profanely.
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Origin of curse

before 1050; Middle English curs (noun), cursen (verb), Old English curs (noun), cursian (verb), of disputed origin
Related formscurs·er, nounout·curse, verb (used with object), out·cursed, out·curs·ing.un·curs·ing, adjective
Can be confusedcoarse course cursecurse cuss

Synonyms

See more synonyms for curse on Thesaurus.com
1, 9. imprecation, execration, fulmination, malediction. 5. misfortune, calamity, trouble. 5, 6. bane, scourge, plague, affliction, torment. 13. plague, scourge, afflict, doom.

Synonym study

10, 12. Curse, blaspheme, swear are often interchangeable in the sense of using profane language. However, curse is the general word for the heartfelt invoking or angry calling down of evil on another: to curse an enemy. To blaspheme is to speak contemptuously or with abuse of God or of sacred things: to blaspheme openly. To swear is to use the name of God or of some holy person or thing as an exclamation to add force or show anger: to swear in every sentence.

Antonyms

1, 9. blessing, benediction. 10. bless.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for curse

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The day which his Maker intended as a blessing, man has converted into a curse.

  • The school is a prison in which work is a punishment and a curse.

  • I found the story of the Bacillus, the curse that killed Darmstetter, that killed Helen.

  • I flung it upon the floor with a curse and threw myself back on my bed with a groan.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • It was like one of those old incantations; almost like a curse.

    Dust

    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius


British Dictionary definitions for curse

curse

noun
  1. a profane or obscene expression of anger, disgust, surprise, etc; oath
  2. an appeal to a supernatural power for harm to come to a specific person, group, etc
  3. harm resulting from an appeal to a supernatural powerto be under a curse
  4. something that brings or causes great trouble or harm
  5. a saying, charm, effigy, etc, used to invoke a curse
  6. an ecclesiastical censure of excommunication
  7. the curse informal menstruation or a menstrual period
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verb curses, cursing, cursed or archaic curst
  1. (intr) to utter obscenities or oaths
  2. (tr) to abuse (someone) with obscenities or oaths
  3. (tr) to invoke supernatural powers to bring harm to (someone or something)
  4. (tr) to bring harm upon
  5. (tr) another word for excommunicate
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Derived Formscurser, noun

Word Origin

Old English cursian to curse, from curs a curse
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 curse

n.

late Old English curs "a prayer that evil or harm befall one," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old French curuz "anger," or Latin cursus "course." Connection with cross is unlikely. No similar word exists in Germanic, Romance, or Celtic. Curses as a histrionic exclamation is from 1885. The curse "menstruation" is from 1930. Curse of Scotland, the 9 of diamonds in cards, is attested from 1791, but the origin is obscure.

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v.

Old English cursian, from the source of curse (n.). Meaning "to swear profanely" is from early 13c. Related: Cursed; cursing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper