verb (used without object)

to use profanity; curse; swear.

verb (used with object)

to swear at; curse: He cussed the pedestrian for getting in his way.
to criticize or reprimand in harsh terms (often followed by out): The coach cussed out the team for losing.


curse word; oath.
a person or animal: a strange but likable cuss.

Origin of cuss

1765–75, Americanism; variant of curse, with loss of r and shortening of vowel, as in ass2, bass2, passel, etc.
Related formscuss·er, noun
Can be confusedcurse cuss Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cussing

curse, blaspheme

Examples from the Web for cussing

Contemporary Examples of cussing

Historical Examples of cussing

  • The Colonel would compress his lips, cussing every Yankee on earth.

  • I know you're all right; I am ashamed of myself for cussing you.

  • Cussing himself for——” The rest was lost in the noise of the team.

    In Her Own Right

    John Reed Scott

  • And not so much the cussing, Peter, as the useless compliments.

    The Prairie Mother

    Arthur Stringer

  • You'll die a natural death in bed, unless you gets to cussing me.

    Bar-20 Days

    Clarence E. Mulford

British Dictionary definitions for cussing



a curse; oath
a person or animal, esp an annoying one


another word for curse (def. 8), curse (def. 9)
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 cussing



"to say bad words," 1815, alteration of curse (v.). Related: Cussed; cussing. To cuss out attested by 1881.



1775, American English dialectal, "troublesome person or animal," an alteration of curse (n.), or else a shortening of the slang sense of customer.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper