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a. An appeal or prayer for evil or misfortune to befall someone or something.
b. Evil or misfortune viewed as resulting from such an appeal: believed that the amulet would ward off curses.
2. A source or cause of evil; a scourge: "Selfishness is the greatest curse of the human race" (William Ewart Gladstone).
3. A profane word or phrase; a swearword.
4. Ecclesiastical A censure, ban, or anathema.
5. Offensive Menstruation. Used with the.
v. cursed or curst (kûrst), curs·ing, curs·es
v. tr.
1. To invoke evil or misfortune upon; damn.
2. To swear at: cursed the car because it wouldn't start.
3. To bring evil upon; afflict: was cursed with crippling arthritis.
4. Ecclesiastical To put under a ban or anathema; excommunicate.
v. intr.
To utter curses; swear.

[Middle English, from Old English curs, probably from Medieval Latin cursus, daily set of liturgical prayers, set of imprecations read in church four times in the year and imposing automatic excommunication for certain sins, from Latin, course; see course.]

curs′er n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


often facetious an expression of disappointment or dismay
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



See Also: WORD(S)

  1. The captain broke loose [with oaths] upon the dead man like a thunderclap —Jack London
  2. Cried out a Foreign Legion of four-letter words like little prayers —George Garrett
  3. Cursed like a sailor’s parrot —Katherine Anne Porter
  4. Cursed like highwaymen —Stephen Crane
  5. Curse like a drunken tinker —George Garrett
  6. Curses are like young chickens, they always come home to roost —Robert Southey
  7. Curses, like processions; they return to the place from which they have come —Giovanni Ruffini

    Probably taken from old Italian proverb.

  8. Curses so dark they sounded like they were being fired all the way from a ghetto of hell —Ken Kesey
  9. Cursing and crying like some sort of fitting had busted in her mind and this whole stream of words gushed out —Hilary Masters
  10. Cursing like a jay —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  11. Erupted like a volcano of profanity —Sholom Aleichem
  12. Felt them [curse words] at the back of his tongue like dangerous little bombs —Thomas Williams
  13. Made curses fly up like a covey of quail —George Garrett
  14. Swear like men who were being branded —Stephen Crane
  15. Swore like a trooper —D. M. Moir
  16. To hear R curse was like hearing the Almighty tear through his own heavens and blow up the stars left and rightly —Marianne Hauser
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.