curette (n.) Look up curette at Dictionary.com
surgical instrument, 1753, from French curette (15c.), from curer "to clear, cleanse" (from Latin curare; see cure (v.)) + -ette.
curfew (n.) Look up curfew at Dictionary.com
early 14c., "evening signal, ringing of a bell at a fixed hour," from Anglo-French coeverfu (late 13c.), from Old French cuevrefeu, literally "cover fire" (Modern French couvre-few), from cuevre, imperative of covrir "to cover" (see cover (v.)) + feu "fire" (see focus (n.)). The medieval practice of ringing a bell at fixed time in the evening as an order to bank the hearths and prepare for sleep. The original purpose was to prevent conflagrations from untended fires. The modern extended sense of "periodic restriction of movement" had evolved by 1800s.
curfuffle (n.) Look up curfuffle at Dictionary.com
1813 (carfuffle), first used by Scottish writers, from a dialect word of Scotland based on fuffle "to throw into disorder;" first element probably as in kersplash, etc. (see ker-).
curia (n.) Look up curia at Dictionary.com
c.1600, one of the ten divisions of each of the three ancient Roman tribes; also "the Senate-house of Rome," from Latin curia "court," perhaps from *co-wiria "community of men." Transferred to the Papal court (1840).
curie (n.) Look up curie at Dictionary.com
"unit of radioactivity," 1910, named for Pierre Curie (1859-1906) or his wife, Marie (1867-1934), discoverers of radium.
curio (n.) Look up curio at Dictionary.com
"piece of bric-a-brac from the Far East," 1851, shortened form of curiosity (n.).
curiosity (n.) Look up curiosity at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "careful attention to detail," also "desire to know or learn" (originally usually in a bad sense), from Old French curiosete "curiosity, avidity, choosiness" (Modern French curiosité), from Latin curiositatem (nominative curiositas) "desire of knowledge, inquisitiveness," from curiosus (see curious). Neutral or good sense is from early 17c. Meaning "an object of interest" is from 1640s.
curious (adj.) Look up curious at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "eager to know" (often in a bad sense), from Old French curios "solicitous, anxious, inquisitive; odd, strange" (Modern French curieux) and directly from Latin curiosus "careful, diligent; inquiring eagerly, meddlesome," akin to cura "care" (see cure (n.)). The objective sense of "exciting curiosity" is 1715 in English. In booksellers' catalogues, the word means "erotic, pornographic." Curiouser and curiouser is from "Alice in Wonderland" (1865).
curium (n.) Look up curium at Dictionary.com
1946, named by U.S. chemist Glenn T. Seaborg, who helped discover it in 1944, for the Curies (see Curie).
curl (v.) Look up curl at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., metathesis of crulle (c.1300), probably from an unrecorded Old English word or from Middle Dutch krul "curly," from Proto-Germanic *krusl- (cognates: East Frisian krull "lock of hair," Middle High German krol, Norwegian krull, Danish krølle "curl"). The noun is recorded from c.1600.
curler (n.) Look up curler at Dictionary.com
1748, agent noun from curl (v.). Related: Curlers.
curlew (n.) Look up curlew at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French courlieu (13c., Modern French courlis), said to be imitative of the bird's cry but apparently assimilated with corliu "runner, messenger," from corre "to run" (see current (adj.)). The bird is a good runner.
curlicue (n.) Look up curlicue at Dictionary.com
1843, American English, from curly + cue, perhaps from French queue "tail" or letter Q in its looping script form. Earlier in this sense was curlie-wurlie (1772).
curling (n.) Look up curling at Dictionary.com
game played with stones on ice, 1610s, from present participle of curl (v.). "The name appears to describe the motion given to the stone" [OED]. A description of a similar game is attested from Flanders c.1600.
curly (adj.) Look up curly at Dictionary.com
1770s, from curl + -y (2); earliest use is of hair. Related: Curliness.
curmudgeon (n.) Look up curmudgeon at Dictionary.com
1570s, of unknown origin; the suggestion, based on a misreading of a garbled note from Johnson, that it is from French coeur mechant "evil heart" is not taken seriously; the first syllable may be cur "dog." Liberman says the word "must have been borrowed from Gaelic (and references muigean "disagreeable person"), with variant spelling of intensive prefix ker-. Related: Curmudgeonly.
currant (n.) Look up currant at Dictionary.com
c.1500, from raysyn of Curans (mid-14c.) "raisins of Corinth," with the -s- mistaken for a plural inflection. From Anglo-French reisin de Corauntz. The small, seedless raisins were exported from southern Greece. Then in 1570s the word was applied to an unrelated Northern European berry (genus Ribes), recently introduced in England, on its resemblance to the raisins.
currency (n.) Look up currency at Dictionary.com
1650s, "condition of flowing," from Latin currens, present participle of currere "to run" (see current (adj.)); the sense of a flow or course extended 1699 (by John Locke) to "circulation of money."
current (adj.) Look up current at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "running, flowing," from Old French corant "running, lively, eager, swift," present participle of corre "to run," from Latin currere "to run, move quickly" (of persons or things), from PIE *kers- "to run" (cognates: Greek -khouros "running," Lithuanian karsiu "go quickly," Old Norse horskr "swift," Old Irish and Middle Welsh carr "cart, wagon," Breton karr "chariot," Welsh carrog "torrent"). Meaning "prevalent, generally accepted" is from 1560s.
current (n.) Look up current at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from Middle French corant (Modern French courant), from Old French corant (see current (adj.)). Applied 1747 to the flow of electrical force.
currently (adv.) Look up currently at Dictionary.com
"at the present time," 1570s, from current (adj.) + -ly (2).
curricular (adj.) Look up curricular at Dictionary.com
1798, "pertaining to driving carriages;" from Latin curriculum (see curriculum) + -ar.
curriculum (n.) Look up curriculum at Dictionary.com
1824, from Modern Latin transferred use of classical Latin curriculum "a running, course, career" (also "a fast chariot, racing car"), from currere (see current (adj.)). Used in English as a Latin word since 1630s at Scottish universities.
curriculum vitae (n.) Look up curriculum vitae at Dictionary.com
"brief account of one's life and work," 1902, from Latin curriculum vitae, literally "course of one's life" (see curriculum). Abbreviated c.v..
currier (n.) Look up currier at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "one who dresses and colors leather," from Old French corier, from Latin coriarius "tanner, currier," from corium "hide, leather, skin" (see corium).
curry (v.) Look up curry at Dictionary.com
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.
curry (n.) Look up curry at Dictionary.com
the spice, 1680s, from Tamil kari "sauce, relish for rice."
curry favor Look up curry favor at Dictionary.com
verbal phrase, 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. For the verb, see curry (v.). Old French fauvel (later fauveau) "fallow, dun," though the exact color intended in the early uses is vague, is a diminutive of fauve fawn-colored horse, dark-colored thing, dull," for which see Fauvist. The secondary sense here is entangled with similar-sounding Old French favele "lying, deception," from Latin fabella, diminutive of fabula (see fable (n.)). In Middle English, favel was a common name for a horse.
curse (n.) Look up curse at Dictionary.com
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.
curse (v.) Look up curse at Dictionary.com
Old English cursian, from the source of curse (n.). Meaning "to swear profanely" is from early 13c. Related: Cursed; cursing.
cursive (adj.) Look up cursive at Dictionary.com
1784, from French cursif (18c.), from Medieval Latin cursivus "running," from Latin cursus "a running," from past participle of currere "to run" (see current (adj.)). The notion is of "written with a running hand" (without raising the pen), originally as opposed to the older uncial hand.
cursor (n.) Look up cursor at Dictionary.com
computer sense is 1967 extension of name for the sliding part of a slide rule or other instrument (1590s), earlier "a running messenger" (c.1300), from Latin cursor "runner," also "errand-boy," from curs-, past participle stem of currere "to run" (see current (adj.)).
cursory (adj.) Look up cursory at Dictionary.com
c.1600, from Middle French cursoire "rapid," from Late Latin cursorius "hasty, of a race or running," from Latin curs-, past participle stem of currere "to run" (see current (adj.)).
curt (adj.) Look up curt at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Latin curtus "(cut) short, shortened, incomplete," from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (see short (adj.)). Sense of "rude" is first recorded 1831. The Latin word was adopted early into most Germanic languages (compare Icelandic korta, German kurz, etc.) and drove out the native words based on Proto-Germanic *skurt-, but English retains short.
curtail (v.) Look up curtail at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Middle French courtault "made short," from court "short" (Old French cort, from Latin curtus; see curt) + -ault pejorative suffix of Germanic origin. Originally curtal; used of horses with docked tails, which probably influenced the spelling in general use; curtal is retained in poetics to describe a "shortened" stanza or poem. Related: Curtailed; curtailing.
curtain (n.) Look up curtain at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Old French cortine "curtain, tapestry, drape, blanket," from Late Latin cortina "curtain," but in classical Latin "round vessel, cauldron," from Latin cortem (older cohortem) "enclosure, courtyard" (see cohort). The confusion apparently begins in using cortina as a loan-translation for Greek aulaia ("curtain") in the Vulgate (to render Hebrew yeriah in Exodus xxvi:1, etc.) because the Greek word was connected to aule "court," perhaps because the "door" of a Greek house that led out to the courtyard was a hung cloth. The figurative sense in curtain call is from 1884. Curtains "the end" is 1912, originally from stage plays.
curtilage (n.) Look up curtilage at Dictionary.com
early 14c., from Anglo-French curtilage, from Old French cortil "little court, walled garden, yard," from Medieval Latin cortile "court, yard," from Latin cortis (see court (n.)).
curtsey Look up curtsey at Dictionary.com
alternative spelling of curtsy.
curtsy (n.) Look up curtsy at Dictionary.com
1540s, "expression of respect," a variant of courtesy (q.v.). Specific meaning "a bending the knee and lowering the body as a gesture of respect" is from 1570s. Originally not exclusively feminine.
curtsy (v.) Look up curtsy at Dictionary.com
1550s, from curtsy (n.). Related: Curtsied; curtsying.
curvaceous (adj.) Look up curvaceous at Dictionary.com
1936, U.S. colloquial, from curve + facetious use of -aceous, Modern Latin botanical suffix meaning "of a certain kind." First recorded reference is to Mae West.
curvature (n.) Look up curvature at Dictionary.com
1660s, from Latin curvatura "a bending," from curvatus, past participle of curvare "to bend" (see curve (v.)). In non-Euclidian geometry, from 1873.
curve (v.) Look up curve at Dictionary.com
early 15c. (implied in curved), from Latin curvus "crooked, curved, bent," and curvare "to bend," both from PIE root *(s)ker- (2) "to turn, bend" (see ring (n.)).
curve (n.) Look up curve at Dictionary.com
1690s, "curved line," from curve (v.). With reference to the female figure (usually plural, curves), from 1862; as a type of baseball pitch, from 1879.
curvilinear (adj.) Look up curvilinear at Dictionary.com
1710, from curvi-, comb. form of Latin curvus (see curve (v.)) + linearis, from linea "line" (see line (n.)). Earlier was curvilineal (1650s).
curvy (adj.) Look up curvy at Dictionary.com
1902, from curve (n.) + -y (2). Related: Curviness.
cushion (n.) Look up cushion at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from Old French coissin "seat cushion" (12c., Modern French coussin), probably a variant of Vulgar Latin *coxinum, from Latin coxa "hip, thigh," or from Latin culcita "mattress." Someone has counted more than 400 spellings of the plural of this word in Middle English wills and inventories. Also from the French word are Italian cuscino, Spanish cojin.
cushion (v.) Look up cushion at Dictionary.com
1730s, from cushion (n.). In the figurative sense, from 1863. Related: Cushioned; cushioning.
cushy (adj.) Look up cushy at Dictionary.com
"easy," 1915, Anglo-Indian slang, from Hindi khush "pleasant, healthy, happy" + -y (2).
cusp (n.) Look up cusp at Dictionary.com
1580s, from Latin cuspis "point, spear, pointed end, head," of unknown origin. Astrological use is earliest.